By Krista Pirtle
With the defending national champions coming to town this weekend, one would think all the focus would be on Texas A&M and the Aggies would be the team wearing special uniforms.
That, however, is not the case.
The No. 1 Baylor Lady Bears will host Texas A&M at 5 p.m. Saturday in the Ferrell Center.
The Lady Bears won’t be clad in their usual white uniforms, but will don the Nike Platinum uniforms, one of two women’s programs in the nation to receive the special uniforms.
“I think they’re going to look pretty sweet,” junior Brittney Griner said. “I’m happy to be in them. Ready to get a win in them. It’s an honor to be one of the two teams on the girls’ side that have them. We’re going to wear them proud.”
Last season, Baylor beat Texas A&M twice in the regular season and once in the Big 12 tournament finals.
The heartbreaker came when the Lady Bears couldn’t defeat them for a fourth time in a single season, falling in the Elite Eight.
“This game is the next game on our schedule,” head coach Kim Mulkey said. “To win a Big 12 championship, to remain undefeated and the fact that they were the last team to beat us motivates you and when they beat you it was at the end of the year when there was no tomorrow.”
Ultimately, Baylor is playing the same program as it did last year but not the same team.
Starting for the Aggies are three ringed veterans, a junior transfer and a freshman.
Seniors Tyra White, Adaora Eloni and Sydney Carter lack Danielle Adams and Sydney Colson from last year’s squad.
Kelsey Bone transferred from South Carolina after her freshman season and sat out the entirety of last season due to NCAA rules.
Saturday evening won’t be the first matchup between Griner and Bone, as they faced each other in high school AAU ball.
“We were two big posts just going at it,” Griner said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
The point guard position belongs to freshman Alexia Standish.
“Texas A&M is similar in the fact that they’ll play great defense,” Mulkey said. “The difference is that Bone isn’t like Adams. She doesn’t shoot the three that much. She’s more of a banger inside. They’re playing with a freshman point guard. They have had to find their own identity this year.”
The Lady Bears find their identity on the defensive side of the ball.
“Offense comes and goes but you can definitely rely on defense because it’s nothing but effort and hustle,” junior Destiny Williams said. “We have a great defensive team especially with our wings denying, and we have a 6’8” in [the paint] blocking shots so it makes it hard for our opponents to score.”
Not only will this be a highly anticipated match-up with some classy jerseys; country music star Trace Adkins will be singing the National Anthem.
Earlier this week Adkins admitted he had a crush on Mulkey when they were both student athletes at Louisiana Tech.