Baylor men’s and women’s basketball teams dominated in conference play over the weekend.
The Lady Bears ended another team’s hopes at a perfect season and the men’s team moved up in the national polls after a thrilling, last-second win.
The No. 13 Baylor men’s basketball team (14-3, 4-1) took on Texas Tech (12-5, 2-4) on the road Saturday. Baylor won 63-60 on a thrilling buzzer-beater shot from senior guard Lester Medford.
With Medford not feeling 100 percent at tip-off and senior forward Taurean Prince only scoring two points and getting in foul trouble early, the Bears relied on team the team for the win.
“You just have to put a lot of trust in your teammates. I was very proud of my team because, when I was out, they hunkered down.” – Lester Medford
Grit and determination are what won the game for the Bears, said head coach Scott Drew.
“We knew coming in that it was going to be a hard-fought game, and if we were blessed enough to win it was going to come down to a couple possessions. I’m really proud of how we held our composure.” – Scott Drew
In a conference with talent all around, the win allowed the Bears to move to the No. 3 spot in the Big 12 and jump from No. 22 to No. 13 spot in the AP Poll.
The Big 12 is the only conference with four teams in the top 15, which include, No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 3 Kansas, No. 6 West Virginia, and No. 13 Baylor.
With 13 conference games remaining, the Bears still have a chance to move up in the Big 12 rankings and make a deep run into the NCAA tournament.
“What makes for a successful season, is, wherever you are at, not being satisfied. The end-of-season ranking is most important.” – Scott Drew
The Lady Bears (18-1, 5-1) went on the road Sunday to battle Texas (16-1, 5-1), where they came out victorious and spoiled the Longhorns’ undefeated season with a 80-67 win.
The win secured the Lady Bears the top spot in the Big 12, and allowed junior guard Alexis Jones to receive her first Big 12 Player of the Week award.
Not only did the victory contribute to the Lady Bears’ improvement in the Big 12 rankings, but it also had a national impact.
Overall, the victory resulted in a switching of places for Baylor and Texas, moving the Lady Bears to No. 4 and the Longhorns to No. 6. in the national AP poll.
The Lady Bears are only behind Connecticut (16-0), South Carolina (17-0) and Notre Dame (16-1) from claiming the No. 1 spot in the nation.
As the Lady Bears struggle different injuries, a win is a win, regardless of how the win is achieved, head coach Kim Mulkey said.
“Sometimes you have to just win ugly. If we can get an ugly win on the road and hang in there and get kids healthy, then it’s about the end of the year.” – Kim Mulkey
This week came at an opportune time for Mulkey and the Lady Bears as they have no games during the week. The off-week could serve as an opportunity to rest players and prepare for the second half of conference play.
While it is still early on and 12 conference games remain, if the Lady Bears keep themselves in the position they are in now, they look poised to make a run for another Big 12 title and ultimately a chance for a third national championship.
But those hopes of a conference and national title will only be realized with a healthy team, Mulkey said.
“We are fighting for a Big 12 championship, but I am really fighting more for healthy kids for when we get to the playoffs. Then we’ll see if we can’t make a run there.” – Kim Mulkey
As the Lady Bears look to continue to move up in the rankings, their next test comes on the road 12:30 p.m. Saturday against Iowa State.