Big 12 Women’s Basketball Preview: Baylor Bears

The 2011-2012 season could not have gone any better for the Baylor Bears. They won all 40 games that they played and won the 2012 National Championship. During their championship run, Baylor had to go through #2 seeded Tennessee, #1 seeded Stanford, and #1 seeded Notre Dame.

The biggest player for Baylor all of last year was their junior center Brittany Griner. Last season, she averaged 23.2 points per game, 9.5 rebounds per game, and 5.2 blocks per game.

Griner was named the AP and USBWA Player of the Year and also won the Wooden Award, Naismith Trophy and Wade Trophy last year. She also has two ESPYs for most outstanding female athlete and most outstanding female collegiate athlete.

Jan 21, 2012; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears center Brittney Griner (42) blocks the shot of Kansas State Wildcats guard Brittany Chambers (2) during the second half at the Ferrell Center. Baylor won 76-41. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

This season, Griner is being recognized for her accomplishments from last year. She is one of two Baylor players to be named to the Associated Press’ women’s basketball preseason All-America team. The other Baylor player to be named to this preseason team is Odyssey Sims.

Last season, Sims averaged 14.9 points per game, 4.4 assists per game, and 3.0 steals per game. She was also named an USBWA All-American and to the NCAA Championship Final Four All-Tournament team.

Baylor is picking up the 2012-2013 season right where they finished last season. This is because they claimed the top spot on the Associated Press’ preseason poll. The Bears kept the #1 ranking for the entire season as they won the championship last year.

They have been ranked at the top spot for 20 straight polls.

According to baylorbears.com, head coach Kim Mulkey said, “It’s a humbling honor, which we’ll embrace but it’s just that an honor. It doesn’t win basketball games. Our goal every year is to win championships.”

Baylor was also picked as the preseason favorite for the Big 12 Conference.

The 2012-2013 season will be a much tougher season for the Bears than last season. They will be playing eight ranked opponents this year. These ranked opponents include: #6 Kentucky, #4 Stanford, #7 Notre Dame, #20 Tennessee, #23 Oklahoma State, #17 West Virginia, #12 Oklahoma, and #2 Connecticut.

Can Baylor win the National Championship again? Yes. Can they go undefeated? Likely not. Their schedule this season is a lot tougher than last season. Baylor will still go undefeated in conference play, but they might lose a game or two in non-conference play.

Baylor will repeat a champion this season, but will not have a perfect season.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @RickyWidmer.

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Check out my other writings on the Oregon Ducks blog, Autzen Zoo.

Topics: Basketball, Baylor Bears, Big 12, Brittany Griner, Odyssey Sims

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