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Rage on: Brothers start Waco Rage Room amid pandemic

By Madalyn Watson | Editor-in-Chief

Even though coronavirus has everyone on edge, the Waco Rage Room gives locals a place to create what comes naturally in times of stress — destruction.

Winston Kail, the president and co-founder of Waco Rage Room, opened this business with his brother, David Stallings, on June 4.

“With just everything going on throughout the year, it just seemed like the perfect time to do it,” Kail said.

Although Kail has been dreaming of opening their business since 2017, the chaos that came with the coronavirus gave him and his brother a unique opportunity.

“As we were building and putting this thing together, things just kept happening and I could tell there was such tension,” Kail said.

A Waco Rage Room player smashes a windshield. Chase (Junyan) Li | Photographer
A Waco Rage Room player smashes a windshield. Chase (Junyan) Li | Photographer

The Waco Rage Room, located at 1007 Wooded Acres Drive, is a place where people de-stress by breaking as many things as they want within an enclosed room.

“We’re a stone’s throw from Valley Mills,” Kail said. “I love my neighbors. It seems like a very American thing. There’s a gun store, a bar and then a place where you break things.”

With all the tension in the world right now, Kail said he wants the Waco Rage Room to be a safe place for people to work through their emotions rather than taking it out on the people around them.

“It just kind of gives them some focus, it gives them an outlet,” Kail said. “I think a lot of times we suppress all those natural things, and then that’s when we walk around so sad and depressed and angry and frustrated.”

Although the Waco Rage Room provides several different packages, Kail said the most popular is their Date Night service.

“It’s people that would surprise you coming [in], very quiet couples, people who have very normal jobs,” Kail said. “But I think it is from having this very structured, desk job. It builds up inside of them.”

Kail said one couple came to the Waco Rage Room and treated it like couples therapy.

“They kept coming out of the room and they’d be upset, but then they add some more things and go back in there and yell and scream and break stuff,” Kail said. “By the end of it, they were lovey dovey. They were happy.”

The Date Night service starts at $75 for 45 minutes, according to the Waco Rage Room’s Facebook page and its Instagram. Like all of the sessions they offer, you can add more time and items during the reservation. The cheapest option they offer, Bring Your Own Breakables, is $25. You bring the items to be destroyed and they provide the room and the weapons.

Brianna St. John joined several of her coworkers at the Waco Rage Room on Tuesday night to celebrate a birthday and release some pent up frustrations.

“I’ve heard of [a Rage Room] before, but I’d never been to one,” St. John said. “And for the price, it’s really worth it.”

A Waco Rage Room player is smashing things. Chase (Junyan) Li | Photographers & Videographers
A Waco Rage Room player is smashing things. Chase (Junyan) Li | Photographers & Videographers

St. John and her friends said that where they worked as waitresses, a lot of their customers are not taking coronavirus seriously and even cuss them out when they ask them to wear a mask.

“People are really selfish and they don’t take the time to buy a mask or wear it and they want to make excuses,” St. John said. “And then that puts people’s health and our health at risk.”

The group smashed dishes, bottles, a door with lots of glass windows, windshields and a television to cope with their frustrations.

All of the items that you can destroy at the Waco Rage Room are donations.

“You’d be surprised to how excited people are to give us things,” Kail said.

Because of the stay-in-place orders and social distancing, Kail said he thinks that people were more likely to donate to them.

“[Because of coronavirus,] people were home. They were bored. They were doing little home improvement projects. They were cleaning out their house, they were getting rid of this, getting rid of that,” Kail said.

A decent amount of the items donated to be smashed at the Waco Rage Room include holiday decorations.

“A lot of times we’ll go in the room and then everything will just be smashed to pieces, but they won’t smash the baby Jesus,” Kail said.

The brothers also mentioned a deal they are promoting for Baylor students now that they are in town. If you show your Baylor student ID, you can get $5 off your session, Kail said.

“We don’t have very many rules,” Kail said. “We ask the people to be safe. Don’t go nuts, but have as much fun as you can.”

LGBTQ group sets sights on official charter

Gamma Alpha Upsilon, formerly known as Sexual Identity Forum, rebranded last year with new logos across its social media platforms. Photo Courtesy of ΓAY

By Carson Lewis | Page One Editor

The group is composed of Baylor students, has a president and officer positions and meets weekly for group activities. It functions in the same way as many Baylor clubs with activities like discussions and bowling nights. But this group of students can’t claim to have what other organizations have: an official charter from the university. That’s what they want to change.

Gamma Alpha Upsilon (ΓAY), an unofficial LGBTQ group on campus, is looking to the new semester with hopes of becoming an official chartered organization. Formerly known as SIF (Sexual Identity Forum), Gamma has functioned on campus since 2011 as an independent group with the purpose of giving a home to LGBTQ Baylor students and allies.

Members in the group expressed their appreciation and surprise last year from the support given to a letter sent by three Baylor alumni to administration which proposed acceptance for LGBTQ groups on campus.

“We ask that the university reconsider its exclusion of student organizations that are designed to provide a community for individuals in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (“LGBTQ”) and allied community,” part of the letter read. The letter accumulated over 3,200 signatures from Baylor students, faculty, alumni and supporters who agreed with the message.

Plano senior Elizabeth Benton, president of Gamma, described the group’s positive reaction to the news last semester.

“It’s nice to know that even people outside of Baylor support us… I honestly didn’t think anybody would care about this, really, besides LGBT people,” Benton said. “It’s so gratifying to hear people talk about that and to meet alumni that were LGBT at Baylor and want to help out. It’s absolutely amazing.”

The group used to meet weekly at 8 p.m. Thursdays at Bill Daniel Student Union Building but will meet away from their usual spot this semester, choosing instead Seventh and James Baptist Church.

Despite having a functional home for the group in the SUB next to Common Grounds, several members of Gamma said they’ve found reasons to move their meetings off campus while the group is unchartered.

Searcy, Ark., grad student Hayden Evans, Gamma’s treasurer, described some of the problems that the group had with the location.

“It’s very, very loud. They typically play music, and of course there’s tons of students all around talking and going about their day. It’s very distracting for us the whole meeting, especially when we invite people from outside the university to speak,” Evans said. “Also, people are uncertain about how they will be perceived… some people don’t come because they are afraid of the repercussions of them being seen there. We’re trying to move to a more private area.”

Benton echoed the statement made by Evans, saying that some prospective members of Gamma felt that the location wasn’t as private as they would have liked.

“I’ve talked to some people who have been threatened if they go to Gamma meetings,” Benton said. “There are people I know, people I talked to, who would come to our meetings and they just stopped coming. I asked, ‘Why don’t you come anymore?’ [They] would be threatened. They seemed scared. This happens a lot actually.”

As an official chartered organization at Baylor, Gamma would be able to rent rooms from the SUB for their meetings and events and advertise on campus to prospective members during events like fall semester’s Late Night.

Houston senior Anna Conner, vice president of Gamma, and other group members insist that being official would greatly help them in their mission to provide a safe space for members of the LGBTQ community on Baylor’s campus.

“People have a perception of what we’re trying to do. They think that we’re trying to go in and rip up this tradition that Baylor has and say, ‘No, we’re no longer a Christian university, you have to accept us because it’s 2019 and everyone needs to change,’” Conner said. “What we’re trying to do is create a space where people can have a conversation, maybe learn a few things and meet new people that have different viewpoints. The biggest challenge [this year] will be to get people to understand that.”

In a July 24 Office of the President email, Jerry K. Clements, chair of the Board of Regents, and president Dr. Linda Livingstone expressed that the board seeks to continue discussion about how to best include and provide support for LGBTQ students.

“The Board continued discussions that began at last summer’s retreat about providing a loving and caring community for all students, including those who identify as LGBTQ,” the email read. “This is an issue with which many faith-based colleges and universities – and our churches – struggle. We believe that Baylor is in a unique position to meet the needs of our LGBTQ students because of our Christian mission and the significant campus-wide support we already provide all students.”

Acai bowl, smoothie business to open this summer

Mamaka Bowls, an acai bowl and smoothie business from Fayetteville is bringing it business to Waco this summer.

By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer

Mamaka Bowls, a popular California-inspired acai bowl and smoothie shop from Arkansas, is opening a second location in this summer, and it just so happens to be in Waco.

Mamaka was founded by mom-daughter duo Carrie and KK Hudson, who opened their first storefront in Fayetteville, Ark. In May 2018. Originally from the Dallas area, KK Hudson said she is excited to bring Mamaka to Texas, particularly in a college town like Waco.

“When we realized that we could open a second store, we really wanted to be back in Texas since it’s where my family is from. We love Texas and it’s also where Mamaka first started,” Hudson said. “My dad and I went to Waco back in December of last year and fell in love. There’s so much personality there and it felt similar to how Fayetteville is for us. There are also so many small businesses and the people are amazing—everyone we’ve interacted with is so kind and helpful. We also love the college town world and are excited to be close to a campus.”

Mamaka Bowls sells both acai bowls and smoothies, and Hudson sees the shop’s unique granola recipe and thick base consistency as two factors that make their bowls stand out.

“We are super transparent with all of our ingredients—everything listed on the menu is all that goes into the bowls,” Hudson said. “For our bowls, we use completely frozen fruit and nothing has any added sugar and we don’t add yogurt. The bowls are also super thick—we make them as close to an ice cream consistency as possible so you don’t feel like you’re eating a smoothie. Our granola is also to die for—my mom came up with the recipe.”

Hudson said that the “Mamaka” and “Pipeline” bowls are two of the shop’s most popular menu items, using toppings and base ingredients like strawberries, mangoes, cacao nibs and peanut butter.

“The Mamaka uses our original blend, which is banana, strawberry, blueberry, mango, acai and almond milk in the base, and it comes topped with our homemade granola, strawberries, bananas and blueberries,” Hudson said. “The Pipeline is chocolate almond milk, banana, peanut butter, strawberry and acai, and is topped with granola, banana, strawberry and cacao nibs.”

Despite their storefront opening just one year ago, Mamaka Bowls truly began when Hudson was in high school. She spent summers with her family in Laguna Beach, Calif., and loved the acai bowls and beach culture.

“Starting my freshman year of high school, we spent every summer in Laguna Beach and around that area—I ate acai bowls almost every day I was there,” Hudson said. “We came back to Dallas at the end of summer and felt like there was nowhere that had acai bowls. During the start of my junior year of high school, I didn’t want to go a whole school year without an acai bowl so my mom spent time in our kitchen coming up with a granola recipe and an original base.”

Hudson said that her mom began delivering homemade bowls to her in high school and that her friends and other students began to notice the bowls and request them as well. From there, a small delivery business began during Hudson’s high school lunches, continuing for a year. Hudson restarted Mamaka again while attending the University of Arkansas by making and delivering the bowls from her house.

“I made a website and was going to have my friends start ordering online to come pick up at my house. Two weeks into the summer, I began having moms, daughters, high schoolers, middle-aged men and just a lot of people ordering online and showing up at my door to pick up a bowl,” Hudson said. “Towards the end of the summer my mom and I realized we need to do this legitimately and stop making bowls out of our houses. We began looking for spaces and fell upon our location in Fayetteville.”

KK Hudson said that the new Waco shop will have a similar design and feel as the store in Fayetteville to create consistency between the locations.

“We fell in love with the design of our first space and researched a ton on what we wanted it to look like,” Hudson said. “We want to keep the Waco shop consistent so it will probably look similar. We’ll have garage doors and swings in the front, and keep blue floors with a bar counter where you can watch people make everything.”

Laguna Beach, Calif., sophomore Ashley Shelton is excited for a place in Waco to serve bowls inspired by southern California with healthy ingredients and toppings.

“When I found out another acai bowl place was opening I got super excited—acai bowls are probably my favorite taste of home in California,” Shelton said. “I also love the fact that the idea for Mamaka Bowls originated around Laguna. There are so many delicious and trendy food places in southern California but Laguna is especially known for their acai bowls and small-town health kick.”

Shelton sees Mamaka’s emphasis on quality ingredients and unique toppings as factors that will make Mamaka stand out and be successful in a new second location.

“I’ll always love the original acai bowl, but nowadays many companies are getting creative with serving different bases,” Shelton said. “I’m also a big fan of toppings—I love strawberries, bananas, almond butter, cacao nibs, chia seeds and more. I hope Mamaka inspires the community of Waco to eat and live healthier.”

Hudson sees the people who work at and frequent the shop as the reason Mamaka has been and can continue to be successful, and is grateful for the growth Mamaka has experienced since their first storefront opened in May of 2018.

“Our people are who make us who we are—our employees and the people who come to our store make everything worthwhile for us. The people who work at the store in Fayetteville are like our family and they create the vibe of the store,” Hudson said. “Our lives have taken a complete 180 because of Mamaka—it’s been so crazy but so fun, and it’s still baffling for us to look back on our first trip to Laguna Beach and realize that that had started it all so long ago.”

Mamaka Bowls will be located at 215 S University Drive, on the opposite corner of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.

Sports Take: The case for expanding the College Football playoffs

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones passes against Ohio State during the second half of an NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game, Monday, Jan. 11,, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Associated Press

By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer

The College Football Playoff needs to be expanded. Currently, college football suffers from an extreme lack of parity in the sport, and the four-team playoff format that the College Football Playoff adheres to is a major contributor to this lack of parity.

Since the playoff’s inception in 2014, only 11 different teams have appeared in the playoff, and only five different teams have appeared multiple times.

This year, each team that made the playoff — Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Clemson — had made the playoff before, resulting in the same repetitive matchups that have ended the season each year.

In seven years, if only 11 out of the 130 FBS college football teams have made the playoff, there is something fundamentally wrong with its structure.

This has been seen with the exclusion of undefeated teams, including UCF in 2017 and Cincinnati this season, in favor of power five schools that have suffered a loss. Both teams played perfect seasons yet were unable to compete in the CFP. A majority of the teams in college football like UCF and Cincinnati enter the season with the knowledge that it is impossible for them to reach the playoff, regardless of how well they play.

A common argument that has been used by the selection committee of the College Football Playoff to justify not including teams like Cincinnati or UCF is that those teams are simply not talented enough to make the CFP.

The selection committee has been clear that their task is to “select the best teams” and not to select the most deserving team or the team with the best resume. And under this criterion, it is hard to deny that the College Football Playoff has consistently selected the four best teams in college football. But this is more of an indictment of how the format of the CFP severely affects the distribution of talent in college football than a compliment.

The best recruits across the nation desire the exposure and glory that comes from playing in the College Football Playoff. It is an effective way for them to impress NFL scouts on the biggest stage and increase their personal brand.

So, when given the choice to attend any university they want, they choose the teams that have a legitimate chance to make the College Football Playoff. Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Clemson and Oklahoma have been the only teams that have consistently been able to make the CFP, thus all of the top recruits choose between these top schools.

This has led to a giant talent discrepancy, even between fellow Power 5 schools. The sad fact is that most teams in the FBS will never be able to compete against these powerhouse schools due to the difference in talent.

Until the format of the College Football Playoff is changed, the lack of parity in college football will remain and be painfully obvious each postseason. By expanding the CFP to either six or eight teams, it would allow for teams like UCF and Cincinnati to make the playoff and close the talent gap that exists between them and the current top teams.

By lowering the bar for entry into college football’s more prestigious competition, the sport will see much more parity, as recruits will be able to choose a wider selection of schools and still have a reasonable chance to reach the playoff and a chance of earning a national title.

Column: Out with The Office, in with stand-up comedy

With many popular shows like The Office disappearing from the popular streaming service, Netflix has released a flurry of their own comedy specials. Cole Tompkins | Photographer

By Mallory Harris | Staff Writer

Well, it finally happened. The Office has been swiped from Netflix and young college students are in grief. However, there are many other titles on Netflix that can provide the same comedic relief everyone is looking for in life. Personally, I’ve found solitude in stand-up comedy specials.

Though I’ve never been to a live comedy show, from what I’ve watched, it’s now on my bucket list. Not only are these comedians sharing jokes about their personal lives, but they are also providing a light that says, “it could be worse.” In my honest opinion, the best part about these specials is that there’s nothing to “catch up” on. Each show has something unique brought to them, either by the comedian or the audience, that makes the show distinct every time.

There are some big-name comedians and others that are still putting their name out into the world, but below is a list that holds my top five stand-up shows on Netflix, in no particular order.

1. Bert Kreischer: Hey Big Boy (2020) – From having his own thrill-seeking television series to being a comedian, Kreischer is not afraid of the spotlight. In his latest special, Kreischer shares stories about his family, being a father and how he’s changing with the world around him. I watched this with my family in the living room and we all ended up crying and laughing at the same time, having to pause the show so we didn’t choke on dinner.

2. Taylor Tomlinson: Quarter-Life Crisis (2020) – If there is one person to take advice from on this list, it’s Taylor Tomlinson. After calling off a wedding, navigating the new dating world and finding herself, Tomlinson’s twenties are nothing like she imagined they would be. After watching Tomlinson’s show it feels as though you have a new best friend and you’re both walking through life dealing with every landmine together.

3. Ali Wong: Hard Knock Wife (2018) – Talking about motherhood, marriage and life in general, Ali Wong holds nothing back in her hysterical show. While going far too in-depth about maternity leave, Wong shares how her life has changed in every aspect. Even though I’m a mere 20-year-old, I still felt as though I could relate to the motherly problems and hilarious side comments Wong used throughout the show to keep each minute interesting.

4. Jack Whitehall: I’m Only Joking (2020) – Taking the world at face value, Jake Whitehall brings his own spin to comedy. While joking more about the world around him with small anecdotes about his family and traumatic experiences, Whitehall’s show holds a different tune than other comedy specials. I must say that there are equal parts of genuine and awkward laughter when watching Whitehall as he pushes forward and comments on the hilarious real-world problems going on today.

5. Best of Stand-Up 2020 (2020) – If you’re just getting into comedy specials and are unsure about wanting to dedicate one whole hour to a single comedian, this show is perfect. Combining multiple comedians from different shows, this special will leave you dying in laughter. Incorporating some big and small names, there are bits about family, personal shocks and crazy stories one would never think actually happened to people.

As the sadness of missing out on shows like The Office and Friends grows, there are other ways to get a good laugh from Netflix. Maybe this is your sign to branch out and do some searching to find your new binge-worthy comedian.

No. 2 Bears quash No. 9 Kansas in blockbuster matchup

Baylor guard Jared Butler scores over Kansas forward Mitch Lightfoot, left, in the second quarter. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald, pool) | Courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer

Baylor men’s basketball avenged last seasons’ sole home defeat as they took down the No. 9 Kansas Jayhawks 77-69 in an emphatic victory Monday night at the Ferrell Center.

After scoring only seven points in Saturday’s game against Texas Tech, junior guard Jared Butler had a bounce-back performance, leading the game with 30 points and eight assists. Junior guard Davion Mitchell and senior guard MaCio Teague also reached double digits, scoring 10 and 13 points each.

“God is so in control of my life,” Butler said. “I just try to adjust to his plan and my teammates did a great job finding me.”

Baylor sprinted out to an 11-2 lead and never looked back. The early run was capped by a spectacular alley-oop from sophomore guard Adam Flagler to senior forward Mark Vital.

Baylor continued to pour onto its lead, scoring five consecutive points out of the first media timeout and forcing Kansas head coach Bill Self to take his first timeout of the game.

The timeout didn’t seem to calm the Jayhawks down, however. A chase-down block from Vital sparked another five-point run from the Bears which put Baylor up 26-13 and forced Self to take Kansas’ second of the game.

Butler set the tone in the first half, scoring a game-high 17 points while hitting 4 threes. His fourth three of the half gave Baylor its largest lead of the game, 16 points, with four minutes left to play in the half.

Both teams shot the ball well from behind the arc in the first half, as both made a staggering 56% of their shots from deep. Despite the Jayhawks’ stellar shooting performance, Baylor led by 13 at the half, 41-28.

Kansas was able to make up some ground in the second half and keep the game competitive. The Jayhawks slowly clawed their way back into the game and cut the lead to five with just under ten minutes left in the game.

Jayhawk guards Christian Braun and Ochai Agbaji were the lone bright spots for Kansas, as the duo combined for 33 of the Jayhawks’ 69 points.

Baylor would immediately respond, however, as the Bears went on a 9-0 run that was started by an monster alley-oop from Butler to Vital and ended by an easy layup from sophomore forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua which forced Kansas to spend its final timeout.

“Those are momentum plays,” Baylor head coach Scott Drew said about Vital’s alley-oop slam. “Those really get the crowd involved and our players feed off of that.”

Kansas came out of the timeout with its own 9-0 run to cut the lead back to five, 65-60, with three minutes to go. It would turn out to not be enough for Kansas, as Butler and Teague would both score clutch buckets to put the game away for the Bears.

“We got in the huddle and talked it out,” Vital said. “Normally, younger guys and when I was young, we used to get a little messed up, thinking ‘Oh man, they cut the lead to five’, but nah, we just talked it out and eventually we just went back out there and did what we had to do.”

In five games against Kansas, Butler has averaged an impressive 23 points per game. Butler said the big-game atmosphere the matchups with the Jayhawks provide give him the motivation he needs to play well.

“Whenever we play Kansas, it’s supposed to be a big game, and I love big games. I love big moments,” Butler said. “It’s my will and competitiveness.”

With the win, Baylor improves to 13-0 on the season and remains undefeated. The Bears’ next game will be Saturday at 1:00 p.m. against Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla. The game will be televised on CBS.

Baylor tennis sweeps triple header

Junior Sven Lah dives for a ball during a singles match against the University of Pennsylvania during the 2020 season. Lah grabbed the final win of Baylor's double header sweep over SMU on Monday. The Bears are 4-0 to start the 2021 season. DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor

By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor

The Bears brought the brooms Monday with the No. 15-ranked men’s team grabbing not one, but two 7-0 wins over SMU, and the No. 23-ranked women taking a 7-0 victory over Rice.

Bears clean up against Mustangs

Each of the 12 players who competed for the men’s team against the Mustangs racked up two wins, one in doubles and one in singles, as the Bears pulled out many talents out of their deep roster, extending their home win streak to 30 consecutive matches. Baylor is now 4-0 to start the season and has swept through each of their matches so far.

Third-year sophomore Finn Bass and second-year freshman Alex Garcia got things rolling for Baylor on the doubles court in the morning contest, defeating SMU’s Callaway Clark and John Zisette 6-2 on court two. Second-year sophomores Christopher Frantzen and Sebastian Nothhaft clinched the doubles point with a 6-3 win over Jordi Redelijk and Kyle Sillman on court three before former Duke teammates Ryan Dickerson and Spencer Furman rounded out win number three 6-2 against Clarke Wilson and Jan-Simon Vrbsky on the top court.

Chris Frantzen grabbed the first singles win of the day with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Kyle Pham, while most of the other matches were still in the first set. Nothhaft quickly followed with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Eddie Ross on court six. Garcia gave Baylor the win with a 7-6(2), 6-2 court four victory over Zisette right before Furman’s straight sets 6-2, 6-2 win over Redelijk on the top court. Bass knabbed a tough win 7-6(2), 6-2 against Clark on court three and Dickerson put the icing on the cake with a 6-3, 6-4 victory against Juan Jose Bianchi in the two spot.

While the young guns made quick work of the competition in the morning match, it was experience that anchored the Bears in the night cap. Dartmouth transfer Charlie Broom and fourth-year junior Matias Soto kicked off an exciting doubles round with a 6-3 win on court three over Huntley Allen and Caleb Chakravarthi. With the only loss of the night for the Bears, third-year sophomore Adrian Boitan and Duke transfer Nick Stachowiak fell 7-5 to Liam Krall and Julian Steinhausen on court two.

Making their 2021 debut as a doubles team, the No. 10-nationally ranked duo of fourth-year junior Sven Lah and fifth-year senior Constantin Frantzen put Baylor on the board in a steely 7-6(4) victory against Bianchi and Tomas Vaise on court one.

No. 74th-ranked Stachowiak took the first singles win on court four, defeating Steinhausen 6-2, 6-2 just as No. 66 Coni Frantzen finished a 6-1, 6-4 win over Wilson in the six spot. No. 56th-ranked Soto clinched the win on court two 6-3, 6-4 over Vrbsky. The action went on, however, as No. 46 Boitan held off Chakravati 6-4, 7-6(3) on court one. No. 43 Lah fought through a three set 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(1) battle in the three spot to ice the sweep for Baylor.

Hinojosa wraps up win for Bears in dramatic tiebreaker

Fifth-year senior Jessica Hinojosa was the last player standing in the women’s victory over the Rice Owls with her 75th career singles victory, along with her 50th career doubles victory.

Rice knabbed their only win with a 6-1 doubles victory on court three as the Owls’ Michaela Haet and Federica Trevisan defeated senior Angie Shakhraichuk and freshman Sara Ziodato to start the match. Hinojosa and junior Livia Kraus opened the door for the Bears with a 7-5 win against Victoria Smirnova and Anna Bowtell on court two before juniors Mel Krywoj and Alicia Herrero Linana gave Baylor the doubles point on the top court with a 6-2 win against Diae El Jardi and Maria Budin.

The Bears eased their way through singles matches with a 6-1, 6-0 win by Herrero Linana against Bowtell, a 6-1, 6-1 win by Kris Sorokolet over Budin, and a 6-1, 6-1 win from Krywoj over Smirnova to clinch the match. The rest of the matches played on as Kraus took a 6-1, 6-4 win against Trevisan in the four spot and Shakhraichuk battled for a 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) victory on court six against El Jardi.

Hinojosa finished the sweep in a blockbuster three-set tiebreaker against Haet on court two. The senior dropped the first set 5-7 before bouncing back 7-6 (8-6) and winning the tiebreaker 10-6.

Both Baylor teams will head out to compete in the ITA National Kickoff Weekend at the end of the week with the men taking on Michigan Saturday in the opening round and the women facing the Texas Longhorns down in Austin.

Faculty Senate begins support initiative for low-income students

The Store, Baylor's food pantry, is located in the Sid Richardson building and actively provides food to students in need. To donate or learn more about The Store visit https://www.baylor.edu/ssi/index.php?id=947350. | Courtesy of baylor.edu

By Emily Cousins | Staff Writer

After a presentation by the Low-Income Student Success Team to the Faculty Senate on Jan. 12, the Senate began raising donations to provide funding for meal cards, already reaching over double its goal.

Matt Cordon, chair of the Faculty Senate, director of the legal writing center and professor of law, said raising donations for meal cards is only the first step toward addressing the needs of low-income students.

“That was just the initial goal — to provide immediate health for food and security. But we’re not going to stop there,” Cordon said. “We’re looking at initiatives to raise that amount even more. We’re also looking at other ideas on how to help students with textbook costs. So the donation page was just the first step among several different strategies to try to help these students in need.”

Even beyond raising money for textbooks, Cordon said there will be discussions on how to lower the costs of textbooks for students in general.

A member of the Low-Income Student Success Team, the director of undergraduate enrollment initiatives and a professor of psychology and neuroscience, Dr. Lynn Wisely, said 19% of Baylor’s undergraduate students were Pell grant eligible in the 2018-2019 school year, meaning their family’s household income is less than $50,000 a year.

“Affording books and healthy food is a strain for many,” Wisely said. “Baylor is committed, as recorded in Illuminate, our University guiding document, ‘Baylor is committed to recruit, retain, and graduate an academically excellent and diverse student body.’ If a student is admitted to Baylor, we want all students to succeed regardless of their financial situation. For our low-income students, this translates to, among other things, help with food and books needs.”

Dr. Sinda Vanderpool, associate vice provost for academic enrollment management and member of the Low-Income Student Success Team, said one of their primary goals as a committee is to educate the Baylor community about the struggles students are facing.

“What we are aiming to do overall is to try to reduce the equity gap,” Vanderpool said. “Basically if you are a low-income student, you’re less likely to graduate at the same rate as the higher income here. This long term goal is to reduce the gap in graduation and retention rates of low-income students.”

Vanderpool said the committee members plan to speak to other organizations on campus to spread awareness and call more groups to action.

“We would love to share this information because we do have a rich set of data, because we have those survey questions and then we have access to some financial information about our students,” Vanderpool said.

Students who are low-income also may not know all their options to afford groceries beyond The Store, a free food pantry on the Baylor campus, Vanderpool said.

“In the recent CARES Act legislation that the Congress passed, they are making SNAP benefits available to a wider group of Americans,” Vanderpool said. “If a student is truly experiencing regular food insecurity The Store isn’t going to be able to sustain them, but helping them know that there’s the SNAP benefits that are available where they can go to a store and get reduced or free groceries is an example of something that we could also help with.”

Vanderpool said they hope to raise awareness to donors and alumni so in the future an endowment fund can be made to aid low-income students with the costs of textbooks and food.

“Obviously you can’t be your best self in the classroom if you’re hungry and not eating nutritious meals so all of that is kind of adding up to this goal of our low income students being able to come to campus and not have to spend their time and energy looking for nutritious meals rather than focusing on their studies,” Vanderpool said.

Weekly COVID-19 testing Baylor’s most promising step to mitigate virus spread

Baylor students will be tested weekly for coronavirus while on campus this semester. Summer Merkle | Cartoonist

In early January, a Presidential Perspective was sent to the Baylor student body announcing mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing for all students, staff and faculty in the Spring 2021 semester. This is the most promising mitigation effort the university has taken since the return of on-campus activities in August 2020.

The American College Health Association published official recommendations for universities returning to campuses in the Spring 2021 semester. These recommendations highly emphasize twice weekly testing for the duration of the on-campus period. The association said universities who incorporated multilayered mitigation efforts last semester were the most effective in reducing virus transmission and these practices should be continued.

The “Swiss Cheese” model Baylor follows incorporates these key recommendations such as wearing face coverings, six-foot social distancing, contact tracing, quarantine and isolation processes. Continuing this model alongside weekly testing for those involved on campus provides the most optimistic outlook for COVID-19 mitigation we have seen on Baylor’s campus up to this point.

As we move into the semester hopeful after the introduction of these additional measures, concerns remain regarding on-campus outbreaks in the coming weeks.

As students return to Baylor’s campus from hometowns world-wide, COVID-19 case numbers are reaching new heights and a more contagious strain of the virus is emerging. This raises the question of if the singular negative COVID-19 test result before returning to campus is sufficient for the collective safety of our community.

The same measures were taken before students returned for the Fall 2020 semester, and the initial spike in cases on campus was undeniable. With this current greater infection rate on a national scale, it is reasonable to anticipate an even larger initial spike than in the previous semester.

Baylor’s weekly tests will be self-administered for the Spring 2021 semester. This also raises concerns about the accuracy of the results when untrained, college-aged students are administering them to themselves.

The greatest issue we anticipate is consequences following missed testing appointments will not be followed through with.

Baylor published official consequences following failure to complete weekly testing. These include disabling WiFi, limiting involvement in campus and student organization activities and eventually sending students to Student Conduct Administration.

Following last semester where punishments did not seem to be implemented consistently, these threats won’t solve the problem unless there is consistent proof of the consequences.

If these consequences are abandoned, students will likely take advantage and ultimately jeopardize the safety of our community and the accuracy of our COVID-19 statistics as a university throughout the semester.

As the semester begins, we remain cautiously optimistic the outcome of COVID-19 mitigation on campus. With the introduction of new weekly testing in addition to previously implemented guidelines, we hope that these measures are enough to maintain a safe environment in the coming months.

Impeachment is absolutely necessary

By Emily Cousins | Staff Writer

On Jan. 13, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump for inciting violence against the government. Some people have criticized this second impeachment, saying what’s important now is unity and healing. However, unity cannot be achieved without reconciliation.

Many Republicans who spoke during the impeachment hearings spoke about how partisanship is the danger and how everyone needs to come together after the attack on the Capitol.

“It’s always been about getting the president, no matter what,” Ohio Representative Jim Jordan said. “It’s an obsession, an obsession that has now broadened. It’s not just about impeachment anymore, it’s about canceling, as I’ve said. Canceling the president and anyone that disagrees with them.”

Republicans also went on to focus on the speech Trump gave during the protests and the violent events at the Capitol, not the movement building up to protest.

“If we impeached every politician who gave a fiery speech to a crowd of partisans, this Capitol would be deserted,” California Representative Tom McClintock said. “That’s what the president did, that is all he did.”

However, these Republicans failed to put this event in the context of the entire post-election season and the refusal of Trump to concede to President-elect Joe Biden. After months of pushing false claims of election fraud, his supporters were riled up and ready to overturn the election. To say this wasn’t Trump’s goal of the protest would be to turn a blind eye to the evidence.

Let’s say we completely isolate the event of the attempted coup at Capitol Hill and Trump’s speech beforehand. This still deserves impeachment. His speech inspired his supporters to storm government property, kill and harm Capitol police and plan to kill elected Democrats and Vice President Mike Pence.

In the end, this offense is impeachable, but is it even worth it? Trump will be gone in a few days anyway.

The answer is still yes. The President of the United States has to be held to the highest standard. What Trump did was an act of treason, and impeachment and conviction will establish the precedent that these actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

In addition, if the Senate votes to convict him before his term ends, he will lose his post-presidential perks; such as government-paid staff, a pension, a $1 million annual travel budget and $500,000 annual travel budget for the former president’s spouse.

The bottom line is that there must be responsibility taken for Trump’s actions. He does not get a free pass just because his term is about to end.

More than that, there has to be unity against the actions that took place at the Capitol. There must be punishment for the terrorists who stormed the Capitol, and there must be punishment for the one who incited their actions.

We do not stand with terrorists. We do not reason with them. All we can do is put a stop to their violence. The fight against fascism should be an easy choice, and it’s yet again concerning that many Republicans have decided to gloss over these fascist actions over condemning the behavior.

We can’t even begin to call ourselves a great country if we don’t have accountability for our elected officials and domestic terrorists.

How to ball on a budget

By Vivian Roach | Staff Writer

For probably the third year in a row, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to save money. Being a college student doesn’t make it easy though. A ramen bender is known all too well by college students, so toss the ramen and pull out your student ID instead.

There are many student discounts hiding at businesses around Waco. You may just not realize it. The Go Gold! program has all kinds of dining, entertainment, retail and beauty service partners that offer discounts and free products. Plus, there is an added benefit of taking your business local to support the Waco community that we all love so dearly, of course.

The dining options offer 10, 15, and 20% discounts or free items with a purchase. Most gyms, wellness centers or beauty services have exclusive student memberships at a lower price, and you can just ask if they’re not advertised.

The same goes for museums and local attractions such as the Mayborn Museum, the Dr Pepper Museum, arcades and axe throwing. (Keep these in mind too for when you’re tired of taking your visitors to the Magnolia Silos or to tortilla toss.)

Everyday services like dry cleaning, laundromats, landscaping, doggy daycare, and repair shops also offer 10% discounts. The Bear Mountain, which sells outdoor gear rentals for all your sunny day excursions, gives students a 10% discount too.

Most businesses can be identified as a partner with a Go Gold! sticker at the location. The full list of partners can be found here.

Though not a partner of Go Gold!, Harvest on 25th, a restaurant committed to locally sourced ingredients and clean eating, is currently giving students 15% off orders through Jan. 24.

If you’re a true bargain hunter, you could find money-savers on every corner. Many chain fast-food restaurants offer discounts, but they vary by location. Pizza Hut and Domino’s, pretty cheap they are, offer discounts by campus. Half-off for students on Sunday at Pizza Hut and $4.99 medium pizza any time at Domino’s. Check with other local chain restaurants — Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Dairy Queen, McDonald’s and Papa John’s — for more offers.

Additionally, Instagram can be your best friend for limited-time offers. One of the main outlets for marketing now, it is likely business social media accounts will advertise these. It just takes a little looking.

Baylor students respond to Trump’s impeachment … again

AP Photo Jan 12 Donald J. Trump was impeached for a second time on January 13, making him the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. It is unlikely that he will be removed from office before the election of Joseph R. Biden Jr. on January 20.

By Rachel Royster | Staff Writer

Furious after Trump’s words encouraged his followers to take “imminent lawless action at the Capitol,” House Democrats began the impeachment process last week, for the second time in this presidency.

Rather than being able to focus on the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, the country now waits eagerly to see what will be done by congressional lawmakers after rioters stormed down the Capitol with Trump’s approval.

The riot, which left five dead, was aimed at disrupting the certification of Biden as the winner of the 2020 election because some right wing citizens believed that thousands of Republican ballots had been ignored. Claims about mass voter fraud had been perpetuated by the president and his allies in the weeks preceding and following Election Day, though no credible evidence was ever put forth to support the claims on such a massive scale.

After speaking at a rally followed by over two hours of chaos at the Capitol, Trump told the violent mob to “go home,” that he loved them and they were “very special.” The House of Representatives then voted to impeach him last Wednesday, a week after rioters stormed Congress.

“Today, in a bipartisan way, the House demonstrated that no one is above the law, not even the President of the United States and that Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to our country,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said when signing the impeachment documents.

Trump is the first president who has ever been impeached twice. The first impeachment happened just over a year ago for articles of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power. Now he will be put up for trial in the Senate for incitement of insurrection.

The impeachment process has already gone through the House of Representatives and is now waiting for Pelosi and the nine Democratic impeachment managers to introduce the article to the Senate. There, a trial will be held to determine the president’s guilt.

Though it is unlikely the Senate will call a vote before Biden is inaugurated, Trump will still face consequences if convicted. One of those consequences includes the revocation of Trump’s ability to run for president again, which it has been reported he is already considering for the 2024 presidential race.

Baylor students have an array of opinions about the way they would prefer the impeachment to proceed given the gravity of the impeachment article, the timing of the riot itself and the timing of the impeachment proceedings.

“I think it is warranted, but at this point, many Americans are just ready to get rid of him, but he only has a couple more days left in office,” said Stafford, Va., junior Kelcey Parks. “So now, it’s really just a matter of how is he going to end his presidency: Is he going to be compliant, or is he still going to do the same things that he’s been doing for the past four years?”

While some wish to see him convicted, others see it as a political ploy on behalf of the Democratic majority in the House.

“Trump still served four years for the United States, and he did do a lot for our economy, so he deserves the protection and rights any other president would get when they go out of office,” Cypress freshman Sarah Michael said. “Personally, I think this is just another way that the Democrats want to get a jab at Trump before he leaves the White House.”

The House vote to impeach the president was the most bipartisan impeachment of an American president, with 10 members of the president’s own party voting for the articles to be brought before the Senate. The final vote count was 232-197 in favor of impeachment.

Trump himself continues to say this impeachment is “absolutely ridiculous.” After reevaluating what he said that encouraged the riots, Trump is standing his ground in his innocence.

“They’ve analyzed my speech and my words and my final paragraph, my final sentence, and everybody, to the T, thought it was totally appropriate,” he said.

MLK Day of Service centers around collection drive

Sarah Pinkerton | Photographer MLK Day of Service provides Baylor students with the opportunity to get involved in contributing to the greater Waco community.

By Ava Dunwoody | Arts & Life Editor

On Baylor’s campus, Jan. 18 marked “a day on, not a day off” of school for students participating in the annual MLK Day of Service. From virtual fundraising opportunities to a drive-by collection site, faculty and students were encouraged to serve their community.

“MLK Day of Service is intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems and move us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a ‘Beloved Community,’” according to Baylor’s website for the event.

Doriann Beverly, senior coordinator for Baylor community services, volunteered with other members of the office of community engagement at the donation collection site on MLK Day. She said normally volunteers are sent throughout the community to work in different gardens across the county with the Heart of Texas Herb and Garden Coalition, but COVID-19 regulations don’t allow for in-person service.

Instead, Beverly said the national branch of MLK Day of Service encouraged virtual events and drive-thru collection sites. Baylor’s take on virtual volunteer opportunities included volunteering to write transcriptions with the Smithsonian, proofread with Project Gutenberg, track walking or running miles with Charity Miles and play an online word game to raise money with Freerice.

The main event of Baylor’s MLK service day was the drive-by collection site located in front of the Martin House on Baylor Ave. Students wanting to donate were instructed to sign up for a time slot through a form on Baylor Connect and to stay in their vehicles during the donation.

“We have agencies that need these items,” Beverly said. “We are donating to agencies like Family Abuse Center and G.W. Carver [Middle School]. They had a request for coats for their students. We also had a request for items for our pets, so the Animal Birth Control Clinic … will share the items with different shelters in the area.”

For the One Warm Coat Campaign, requested items included new or gently worn coats, new hats, scarves, socks and gloves. For the Pet Supply Drive, items included wet cat and dog food, new or gently used large towels, collars, leashes and pet clothes.

Colorado Springs junior Grace Hall donated for the Pet Supply Drive from her car early Monday morning and said she heard about the drive from her Baylor equestrian team coach who encouraged the whole team to participate.

“I have a dog of my own, and I think it’s really important to give back. It’s a good cause, too,” said Hall. “I hope that more people can come out and it can have a far outreach.”

Besides the perk of doing good in the community, Beverly said, students like Hall can receive service hours to their respective organizations by participating in the drive. The collection will continue through Thursday and students can sign up for a time slot through Baylor Connect.

“Every day is a good day to get out and serve, but this is not a day off. It’s a day to stop and take stock of where you are. We are blessed to be here today,” Beverly said. “It’s a great way to honor Dr. King’s legacy of the work that he did, fighting for other people and giving up time to other people, so why not today?”

Baylor health officials, administration aim to regain normalcy with weekly COVID-19 tests

During the spring semester, students, staff and faculty will be required to take a self-administered COVID-19 test once a week. Kristen DeHaven | Photo Editor

By Vivian Roach | Staff Writer

Before the start of the spring 2021 semester, Baylor announced all students, faculty and staff would have to test weekly for COVID-19. Testing began on Monday.

This is an increase in testing from the fall 2020 semester. Those in the campus community are assigned a testing day, time and location to be administered their test.

Dean for student health and wellness, Dr. Jim Marsh, said that testing 10% of students each week didn’t allow students to do as much as they want to do. He said that more testing will be important in eventually returning to the pre-pandemic Baylor experience.

“Our team of health experts believe that weekly testing will be key, along with the current preventive health measures, to really unlock some normalcy this semester and open the potential for more in-person events and activities,” Marsh said.

In November, Baylor issued a moratorium on all events until Feb. 7 in order to limit the spread of the virus.

“Please note that this date is subject to change based on COVID-19 conditions at the time but represents our best planning based on our return to campus this fall,” the Baylor COVID-19 Health Management Team said along with the announcement.

At this time, the moratorium is still expected to be lifted on that date, Marsh said, but weekly testing will hopefully ensure that more in-person events can safely be held thereafter.

“The reason for that is we expect that when everyone returns to campus, we might have a surge in the number of positive cases, similar to when we came back in the fall,” Marsh said. “Really what we want to do is get past that surge, which we did last time, and we believe our weekly testing will help us do that very quickly. February 7th is a good target being that’s about how long that happened last time, so we believe we’ll be in a place to do a lot more after that date.”

Weekly testing is likely to continue through the semester, but the health experts are constantly reviewing the COVID-19 procedures on campus.

“Usually at certain time points, we take a step back and say the same thing as we did back in the fall: Are we on the right path? Is this what we need to be doing? Is this creating results that we want?” Marsh said.

Regular appointments in the testing locations are for ease and convenience to everyone, he said, so it becomes a part of students, faculty and staff’s weekly routine.

During the quarterly Board of Regents meeting in November, Baylor President Dr. Linda Livingstone said spending on COVID-19 measures throughout the Fall 2020 semester had been higher than expected. However, Tonya Hudson, director of strategic communications, said that internal funds have been reallocated and the CARES Act passed by Congress has provided for additional spending on weekly testing this spring.

“Given we continue to be in the midst of a pandemic, we believe these investments are warranted for the ongoing health and wellness of our campus community,” Hudson said.

Additional information regarding weekly testing appointment times and consequences for noncompliance can be found on the COVID-19 FAQ page.

Social work graduate student dies due to COVID-19

Alicia Martinez, a Baylor social work graduate student, has died of complications after contracting COVID-19 several weeks ago. Cole Tompkins | Photographer

By Emily Cousins | Staff Writer

President Linda Livingstone announced in a BaylorNewsFlash email that 21-year-old Alicia Martinez, 2020 graduate of the Diana Garland School of Social Work and current social work graduate student, died in Waco today due to COVID-19.

The university was told earlier in the day about Martinez’s death. She had been battling COVID-19 for several weeks. The circumstances in which she was infected with the disease and whether or not she was considered high-risk for the virus are, as of now, unknown.

“This is devastating news for Alicia’s family, friends, her cohort of social work classmates and faculty to whom she was very close and for our community at Baylor University,” Livingstone wrote. “May all of us in the Baylor Family join together in prayer for Alicia’s family and all those who loved and cherished her as they mourn such a tragic loss. May we feel the grace of God through the prayers, thoughts and love from the hearts of those who care and share in this time of great sorrow.”

Martinez was a native Wacoan and graduated from Rapoport Academy while at the same earning her associate degree from McLennan Community College, Livingstone wrote.

“Alicia was one of Baylor’s bright lights, glorifying God through her dedication to helping others through the social work profession,” Livingstone wrote. “She was interning at Grassroots Community Development and had already proven herself to be a valuable member of the team. She also volunteered her time to serve with the children’s ministry at University Baptist Church. She was so full of hope and planned to graduate with her master’s degree in social work in May.”

Social work professor Mallory Herridge said Martinez was “the heartbeat of the classroom.”

“This is such a sad day at Baylor,” Livingstone wrote. “May all those who loved Alicia and grieve her passing find rest, comfort and peace in the love and hope of God.”

Dean of the Graduate School of Social Work Jon Singletary wrote an email to the Baylor social work community acknowledging the pain of beginning the semester without one of their beloved students.

“For today, as we remember Alicia with love and appreciation, know that we feel the same care for each of you,” Singletary said. “You are beloved and we hold you close to our hearts in the sorrow of losing someone so dear. We also pray that in your grief, you will feel the hope and love that filled Alicia’s life.”

The university will host a virtual gathering on Monday at 7:30 p.m. for members of the Baylor community to mourn Martinez’s death and pray for her family.

Shorthanded Lady Bears fall to Iowa State

Baylor guard Moon Ursin, center, drives between Iowa State guard Lexi Donarski, left, and teammate guard Ashley Joens, right, in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Waco, Texas. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune-Herald via AP)

By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer

The No. 6 Baylor women’s basketball team lost its second game of the season on Saturday, falling 75-71 to Big 12 rival Iowa State.

“Our offense was the problem tonight. I’d have to go back and look at the film. How many layups did we miss? How many offensive rebounds did we miss tonight?” head coach Kim Mulkey said. “We’ve got to all get together at some point. Not sure when we’ll get there but we’ll get there.”

The loss was Baylor’s first game since Jan. 2 and the Lady Bears had only one practice prior to facing the Cyclones after having to halt activity due to COVID-19 precautions. Baylor was also without two of its best perimeter shooters in DiJonai Carrington and Caitlin Bickle.

Baylor was led by versatile contributions against ISU from guard DiDi Richards (eight points, four rebounds, 10 assists, three steals) and forward NaLyssa Smith (14 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, three blocks). As a team, Baylor shot an abnormally low percentage from the field and the free throw line. The Lady Bears were good on 31 of their 77 shots from the floor, and five of their 11 shots at the line.

The first quarter was a slow one for the Lady Bears. After the first frame, Baylor trailed 23-12. Baylor failed to make a three in the quarter, and went without an attempt from the free throw line. From the field, the Lady Bears shot just 30%, well below their standard mark of 49%. The Cyclones, on the other hand, had no such struggles. Iowa State hit three shots from beyond the arc, and made both their free throw attempts. The Cyclones also out-rebounded the Lady Bears, 14-10. Richards led the way for Baylor after one, with six points, a rebound and two assists. For a team as successful as Baylor, trailing at any point can be a bit of a surprise.

“It was a bit of a shock,” said senior guard Moon Ursin. “We haven’t practiced in a week… We knew we had to stay in the game as best we could.”

The second quarter was much stronger for Baylor. Forward Queen Egbo and guard Jaden Owens each posted seven points in the period, while Smith contributed in a number of ways with five points, five rebounds and a pair of blocks. A 12-0 run to open the quarter gave the Lady Bears a one point lead. The quarter from that point continued to be competitive, with the lead trading hands twice. The Cyclones hot shooting cooled off somewhat in the second, only hitting one of their eight three point attempts. At the half Iowa State led 34-33.

The third quarter was another battle, with both teams trading buckets for the majority of the frame. Iowa State guard Emily Ryan put up 11 points in the quarter to help the Cyclones hold the lead. For Baylor, Ursin took the lead in the penultimate frame, scoring eight points while also dishing out a pair of assists and blocking a shot. Baylor shot 41% or lower from both the field and the free throw line, and a rough 1-7 shooting stretch sent the Lady Bears into the fourth down 56-50.

Baylor won the scoring battle in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough. The Lady Bears failed to get to the line in the fourth, while Iowa State converted six of their seven shots from the charity stripe. ISU guard Ashley Joens poured in 14 points in the final quarter to help the Cyclones hold the lead. Trinity Oliver led the way for Baylor in the quarter, scoring six points and grabbing two rebounds. Despite the loss, Mulkey did see positives in the fourth.

“Trinity Oliver gives you big rebounds. She got two offensive rebounds late,” said Mulkey. “I was looking for someone to give us a spark and that’s what we got.”

The Lady Bears will return to the court Wednesday in Stillwater, Okla., to take on Oklahoma State. That game is slated for 6:30 pm on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

No. 2 Bears remain undefeated in defensive road battle against No. 15 Tech

Baylor guard Davion Mitchell looks to make a pass during Baylor's 68-60 win over Texas Tech Saturday in Lubbock. Photo courtesy of Texas Tech Athletics

By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer

Baylor men’s basketball continued its winning ways in Lubbock on Saturday, beating No. 15 Texas Tech 68-60. The Bears are one of four remaining undefeated teams in the nation, the only Power Five undefeated team, and the only team to have won all their games by at least 8 points.

“It’s hard to win on the road, but to me, this was the first game all year… that really felt like a road Big 12 game,” head coach Scott Drew said. “I think the players played off that energy and it affected us at the line and in some things that we did. Usually it takes a game like that to get you used to it and do a better job handling the nerves.”

Three Baylor players hit double figures in the points column as guards MaCio Teague, Adam Flagler and Davion Mitchell scored 12, 15 and 19 points respectively. Three Bears tied for the team lead in rebounds with Mark Vital, Jared Butler, Mitchell and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua each grabbing five boards.

Baylor’s depth has been a strong point all season long, and the reserve unit showed up again in Lubbock. Baylor’s bench scored 26 points over the course of the game while Tech’s backups contributed only five. The Bears were also stellar in transition, scoring 22 points on the fast break to the Red Raiders’ 12.

The first half saw strong performances from both defenses. Mitchell led the Bears with 10 points, a rebound and an assist. On the other side of the court, Texas Tech star Mac McClung finished the half with seven points and a rebound to spearhead the Red Raiders. Neither team was really able to get much going on offense. Baylor shot 35% from the field in the half, along with 38% from beyond the arc and an uncharacteristically weak 25% from the free throw line. Despite their offensive struggles, Baylor took a 26-18 lead into the halftime break.

The second half was much more tense than the first, with Baylor seeing one of their largest deficits all season with just over 16 minutes left to play. Mitchell put another nine points on the board, and Flagler was able to match that number. Butler struggled mightily in the first half, but was able to shake off some of his rust to score seven points in the latter half of the contest. The last eight minutes helped seal the deal for the Bears, and Drew felt like it was something the team can build on.

“Sometimes as coaches and as fans we set the bar so high for ourselves, and when you have two top five defenses playing in a great environment like that, it’s not easy,” Drew said. “So you got to be happy with the eight minutes and the first half defense and grow from it and get better.”

Baylor had yet to play a close game this season, but Mitchell felt that the team benefited from having to fight for a win.

“Definitely preparing us for the NCAA tournament and even the Big 12 tournament, it’s very helpful,” Mitchell said.

Baylor will welcome No. 6 Kansas to the Ferrell Center on Monday for a marquee matchup between two of the Big 12’s top teams. The game is slated for 8 pm on ESPN.

Butler leads No. 2 Bears to victory over TCU in milestone game

Mark Vital, Johnathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua and Jared Butler defend against Kevin Samuel during Baylor's 67-49 win over TCU Saturday at Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by Gregg Ellman | Courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor

In college basketball, any player can have a career game at any time. Saturday was Jared Butler’s turn as the junior guard led Baylor to a 67-49 win over TCU in Fort Worth, breaking a three-year losing streak at Schollmaier Arena.

Coming off an eight-point game against Oklahoma on Wednesday, Butler didn’t know he was on the verge of a milestone, becoming the 32nd player in program history to reach the 1,000-point mark with a season-high 28 points against the Horned Frogs.

“You shouldn’t have told me that,” Butler joked of the milestone. “I didn’t know that, but I guess it’s pretty cool. I don’t know how cool that is, but it’s just points.”

For the first time this season Baylor entered intermission trailing, down by one after TCU’s Mike Miles, who made 15 of his 17 points in the first half, hit a miracle shot from 60 feet out to close out the half, putting the Horned Frogs ahead 28-27. It was a tight first half as both teams started sluggish offensively. The Bears struggled to hit shots from the outside, scoring 18 points in the paint and going 1-10 in three-pointers, and were outrebounded 21-12.

“First half, when we weren’t making shots, if your team is selfish and immature then you let those missed shots affect your defense and everything else you do, and we didn’t do that,” head coach Scott Drew said. “Then, second half, shots fell and we played better. But you look at it, first half we held them to 33%, second half 33%, and that’s what good teams do. The defense is there no matter what.”

Coming out of the break, the Bears stepped up the intensity while keeping a consistent defense. Baylor sophomore guard Davion Mitchell hit a short layup to kick off a 7-0 run for the Bears to start the second half. TCU’s RJ Nembhard kept the Frogs close, making back-to-back three point shots halfway through the second half to make it a one possession game. Redshirt guard MaCio Teague, who added 12 points of his own to BU’s win, extended the lead back out to five.

Butler said that finally being able to get a shot from a distance and continued a steady defense was the difference for Baylor in the second half.

“That was big for us in our offense and the way we play,” Butler said. “We hit a three. We got some assisted threes which is big for our offense as well. And I think we still locked in from the defense and we continued the tenacious defense. They [TCU] played pretty well and made some good shots in the first half, but our ability to continue to play defense was big for us.”

The Bears began to pull away for good when Mitchell assisted Butler on a three -point shot thanks to a screen set by redshirt forward Johnathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua. Butler then grabbed a rebound off a missed jumper by Horned Frogs forward Kevin Easley and passed it to Teague who then made a fast break dunk to give Baylor its first double-digit lead of the day at 52-42.

Another three-pointer by Butler, followed by a dunk by Tchamwa Tchatchoua and a final three by Teague iced the win for the Bears. Not to be outdone and learning from Wednesday’s game with the Sooners, Mitchell sprinted to the other side of the court in the final seconds of the game to make a steal and keep TCU from making one last layup.

“Every minute is important,” Mitchell said of his final steal. “I just didn’t want them to get an easy lay. I mean, we’d already won the game. I just didn’t want them to get an easy lay like [we] did against Oklahoma when they got that easy dunk.”

Although the Bears were outrebounded on both sides of the court 38-32, Baylor forced 22 turnovers, including 10 steals, and capitalized them into 19 points. It was a physical game for both teams as the Bears and TCU combined for 39 fouls, 20 of which were committed by the Bears.

“We know no game is going to be easy,” Mitchell said. “So these games are really good for us especially for the long run when those games are really hard and we’re missing shots and we still pull out the win.”

With its 11-straight win, Baylor remains undefeated and moves to 4-0 on the season and is the only team in the nation to win all of its games by 11 or more points. The Bears will return to the Ferrell Center on Tuesday to host No. 14 West Virginia, who suffered a last minute loss against the Texas Longhorns Saturday.

If you’re surprised, you aren’t paying attention

By Emily Cousins | Staff Writer

After the coup attempt occurred on Capitol Hill, many Republican leaders are trying to dissociate themselves from President Donald Trump. This is too little and too late.

Trump’s term ends on Jan. 20. Resigning less than a month before he leaves office is not honorable and it does not deserve praise.

I will say it is exciting to see people who supported Trump before admitting they were wrong all along. While this is great to see, I have to wonder why it took them so long to realize the danger of Trump as the president.

From the beginning of his 2016 campaign to become president, we could see that this man was not fit to be president. Strictly on paper, he had no credentials and no experience preparing him to be the leader of such a large and influential country.

Many people argued that he was different and better than a regular politician. They said they were tired of career politicians lying and not following through on their promises, which is fair. However, Trump made it very clear the kind of monster he would be if elected president, and he followed through on his promise and beyond.

While campaigning, he made racist statements about many people groups. He mocked a disabled reporter. He worked hard to convince his supporters to distrust the media.

His supporters even this week are still convinced that the media is lying and that members of antifa are to blame for the coup at Capitol Hill, even though there is no evidence to support this claim.

The Trump administration did a lot of harm through its policies, but what made Trump even more dangerous was his rhetoric. He never condemned white supremacists. He even called them “fine people.” He was xenophobic, homophobic, racist and sexist all through his campaign and presidency.

He was disrespectful to world leaders. He was condescending and arrogant. He threw tantrums on Twitter when he didn’t get his way. He has been accused of sexual misconduct by 26 women.

This is not behavior we allow from others, yet he was elected president. His entire presidency, many Americans defended his every move and mistake, while in the same breath called him the most Godly president we have ever had.

Who’s to say what is in Trump’s heart, but based on his actions, is that someone we should look up to as a shining example of a Christian? Absolutely not.

If you were horrified and surprised by the coup incited by Trump, I have to ask: have you been paying attention at all? This has been his language and rhetoric from the beginning. He inspires violence from white supremacists. He tweeted and rallied them to come to protest.

The worst part about the coup is the blatant lack of consequences for those who stormed in and destroyed government property.

During Black Lives Matter protests, there are videos from all across the country of police becoming violent with protestors. People were arrested simply for being there. Police shot rubber bullets at people’s faces and damaged their sight or injured them severely.

This is the response we see from police at BLM protests, but when highly armed white supremacists come and storm the Capitol, we see videos of police taking selfies with them, helping them down the stairs and not resorting to violence.

There is much to unpack from the events at Capitol Hill, but what we can say for certain is that it was not a surprise, and that we again saw white supremacists get off with a slap on the wrist, whereas if it was a protest where Black people were asking for equity, many more people would have been injured, killed or arrested.

The unfortunate thing is that this is who we are. This is America. From the beginning, we treated Black people, people of color and indigenous people as lesser than white people. This is what our country was built on, and that’s how we got to Trump being president. That’s how his presidency ended with a coup. That’s why white supremacists feel threatened by equity for BIPOC, because the United States was built on their oppression.

The first step in going toward a better future is admitting this and taking responsibility. We cannot go forward if we pretend this isn’t what America is. We’re going to have to come together somehow and create a better future for the BIPOC in America and the world. It’s not going to be easy, but it is necessary.

Baylor to require weekly COVID-19 tests for all students, faculty, staff

Baylor has announced updated COVID-19 testing guidelines for the upcoming semester. All students, faculty and staff will be required to take a weekly, self-administered COVID-19 test for the duration of the semester. Lariat File Photo.

By Camille Rasor | News Editor, Emily Cousins | Staff Writer

Baylor President Dr. Linda Livingstone announced mandatory weekly COVID-19 tests will be administered to all students, faculty and staff throughout the semester in an email sent out to the Baylor community today.

“We will have several testing locations available across the campus, and the tests will be self-administered,” Livingstone wrote in the email.

Baylor Medical Director Dr. Sharon Stern said self-administered tests will be less uncomfortable.

“There have been several studies that show that self-administered tests, if monitored by clinical personnel, are as accurate as lab tech administered tests,” Stern said.

Baylor representative Lori Fogleman said Baylor uses the a polymerase chain reaction test, which is the “gold standard” for COVID-19 testing.

These tests will be required in addition to the negative COVID-19 test required for students to return to Waco. Additionally, it was announced that Baylor has received 300 doses of the Moderna vaccine and are being distributed to individuals in the Phase 1A group of Texas vaccine recipients.

“We are developing plans for Phase 1B, provided we obtain additional doses, which will include people 65 years of age or older or people 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that places them at increased risk for severe illness,” Livingstone wrote. “We will provide additional information as it becomes available.”

Stern said Baylor applied to be a vaccine provider at the State Department of Health Services. The State Department of Health Services will decide how many doses to send to Baylor based on need, their supply, provider population and storage capacity.

“The State Department of Health Services asks a number of questions, including total patient population, how many in various risk groups; health workers, over 65, disabled, etc.,” Stern said. “They also ask about storage capacity as the vaccines need to be stored in a freezer or ultra-low freezer or refrigerator … They then inform us when they will send us which vaccine and how much. We cannot order it and we do not know what we will get or when we will get more — other than the second doses. Those are guaranteed to arrive at the appropriate time for the patients already vaccinated.”

As a new strain of the virus spreads, Fogleman said they will continue to push for the protocols already in place.

“Facemasks and proper social distancing will again be required on campus for the semester,” Livingstone wrote. “These are important safeguards at this critical stage of the pandemic, as well as to help us reduce the spread of the common flu at the same time. In accordance with new CDC guidance, we have reduced the length of quarantine for exposed individuals from 14 days to 10 days, which aligns with the isolation timeframe.”

Stern said the Health Management Team is working constantly to keep everyone safe.

“We plan to continue to emphasize the importance of social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing,” Stern said. “We also will be doing more frequent surveillance testing to try to control spread from asymptomatic people. We also are hoping to be able to receive enough vaccines to immunize everyone soon.”

No. 2 Bears dominate Oklahoma in Big 12 home opener, continue win streak

Baylor Bears guard Adam Flagler (10) drives to the basket as Oklahoma Sooners guard Elijah Harkless (24) defends during the second half at Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports | Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor

With the events of the nation’s unrest hanging heavy on the evening, the second-ranked Baylor men’s basketball team added another win to the column, moving to 10-0 overall and 3-0 in the Big 12 after defeating Oklahoma 76-61 Wednesday at the Ferrell Center.

Associate head Jerome Tang led a prayer prior to the game in response to the rioting that occurred in the District of Columbia Wednesday afternoon. Head coach Scott Drew said the team shared the sentiment of unity that Tang’s prayer invoked.

“I think the conversations we’ve had, we’ll keep having. Those are things that will go on each and every year because you want to get better,” Drew said. “There’s only one way to get better — address issues and try to improve.”

Getting off to a quick 16-2 start, the Bears’ defense held OU at 21% field goal scoring while shooting at 55% themselves. However, Baylor’s turnovers on the offensive allowed the Sooners to cut the lead to five later in the first half before going on a 14-2 run to take a 17-point lead into intermission.

“As a coach you hate when you don’t get quality shots and quality opportunities. At the same time, the last KenPom numbers I saw we’re 26th in pace and we’re the third next offense,” Drew said of Baylor’s turnovers in relation to its pace of play. “A lot of positives for how we’re playing. At the same time, there’s times when you’re like, we need to be a little bit more patient and get a better shot and make them play defense. So, it’s a constant attention you’re trying to work out.”

MaCio Teague led the Bears in scoring with 17 points, just two points behind Oklahoma’s Austin Reaves who shot a game-high 19. Matthew Mayer and Adam Flager came off the bench to score 16 and 15 points respectively. Mark Vital led in rebounds with a game-high eight boards and Davion Mitchell led Baylor with four assists.

The Bears scored 40 points off the bench, 32 in the paint and 16 on second-chance points. Flager said “the Bench Mob” prides itself on “providing a spark” for the team.

“Whoever’s coming off the bench we just go out there and compete at a high level and give us an edge,” Flager said.

The Sooners came out sharper in the second half but Baylor managed to cut back on the turnovers and went on a 7-0 run in the final minute while keeping OU to a three minute scoring drought toward the end of the game which ended with a final fast break dunk by OU’s Alendes Williams.

“We definitely pride ourselves on being more selfless and getting into the paint and looking for others,” Flager said of the Bears’ play in the second half. “Once we got that going we were able to find open shots and get to the basket easier.”

With the win over Oklahoma, Drew recorded his 372nd victory as a Division I head coach, passing his father Homer Drew’s 371 wins as the head coach at Valparaiso. Drew and the Bears will look to earning win No. 373 when they face TCU in Fort Worth on Saturday.

Mulkey tests positive, games postponed

Head coach Kim Mulkey poses with former Lady Bear Kalani Brown on Feb. 25, 2019 prior to a Big 12 game against the University of Texas in the Ferrell Center. Mulkey tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday and will be isolated until approximately Jan. 15. Lariat File Photo

By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer

Baylor women’s basketball head coach Kim Mulkey tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. Mulkey missed the Lady Bears’ contest with TCU as a result of contact tracing.

“I tested positive [Jan. 4] and will now isolate,” Mulkey said. “If I have no symptoms, I will re-join the program on January 15.”

As a result of Mulkey’s status, Baylor’s Jan. 7 game against UConn has been canceled and the upcoming game against Kansas State has also been postponed due to COVID-19 issues with both programs. While Mulkey will be away from the program, the team will continue activities, albeit in a restricted fashion.

“While I am disappointed and hate to be away from the program, Baylor women’s basketball is in good hands with our coaches and support staff,” Mulkey said. “ The safety of our student-athletes is paramount and will take precedent over any basketball activity during this pandemic.”

The program will conduct further COVID-19 testing to help determine the length and severity of the restricted period.

As of Jan. 5, Baylor’s next game will be against Kansas on Jan. 13. The game is slated to be played in Lawrence.

Lady Bears dominate Southern in third straight win

Baylor forward NaLyssa Smith (1) is fouled by Southern's Taneara Moore (22) as she attempts a shot in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, in Waco, Texas. (Jerry Larson/Waco Tribune-Herald via AP)

by Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer

Fresh off a dominant win against Texas Tech, Baylor women’s basketball continued their successful season with a 34 point victory over Southern.

The win is Baylor’s third in a row, and their 59th straight in the Ferrell Center. The Lady Bears were led by junior forward NaLyssa Smith, who posted 16 points, three steals and a block. Junior center Queen Egbo also had a big night for Baylor, scoring 15 points and pulling in 11 rebounds. Senior guard DiDi Richards turned in a versatile performance with four points, six assists and four rebounds. As good as the win looked, Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey knows the Lady Bears can be better.

“We won the game, and I can’t tell you that it was anything to put in a highlight film,” Mulkey said. “I don’t take things for granted either. Everybody got to play, I think everybody scored, and we’ve got to get ready for Northwestern [State].”

Egbo and Smith led the charge for the Lady Bears in the paint, as Baylor scored 54 points in the paint to Southern’s 18. Southern struggled to keep Baylor off the glass too, giving the Lady Bears 35 second chance points, while only scoring four second chance points of their own. Baylor had success outside of the paint too, shooting over 37% from beyond the arc as a team, including 100 % in the fourth quarter.

The first quarter was a defensive struggle, as neither team was able to hit the 20 point mark. Baylor and Southern swapped leads twice, but a 6-0 run late in the quarter from the Lady Bears helped keep them in front heading into the second. Baylor ended the first quarter up 18-14.

The outset of the second quarter saw both teams trade buckets, but Baylor put together a 10-0 run about halfway through the quarter, extending their lead to 16. Another 6-0 run to close the quarter saw the Lady Bears looking for a blowout, entering the half up 41-19. The Baylor defense showed up big in the second, allowing only two scores from the field by Southern.

The third quarter saw Baylor push the lead even further, going on a tear to open up a 34 point lead. Baylor dominated on the inside on both sides of the ball, scoring 12 points in the paint, while allowing just two. The Lady Bear defense was able to play efficiently as well, not sending any Jaguars players to the line in the third. Heading into the fourth, Baylor led 62-28.

The fourth quarter gave some other Lady Bears an opportunity to shine. The Baylor bench scored 17 points in the fourth, almost as much as the bench had scored in the past three quarters combined. The second unit did just as well as the starters, pushing Southern in all phases of the game. Baylor scored 10 points off turnovers in the fourth, taking possessions from the Jaguars and turning them into offense for themselves. At the final buzzer, Baylor went home with an 86-52 win. While the bench group is often seen as lesser than the starting five, that isn’t how Mulkey sees it.

“Most people want to start [but] that means absolutely nothing to me,” Mulkey said. “I want the players I need to help me win the game be on the floor when it’s gut check time.”

The Lady Bears will see the court again on Dec. 18 against Northwestern State in the Ferrell Center. The game will air on Big 12 Now and ESPN+.

Senior Spotlight: Laché Harper fit like a puzzle piece for Baylor volleyball

Baylor senior middle blocker Lache Harper receives flowers from President Livingstone at the end of Baylor's victory game against Kansas State 3-1. Brittney Matthews | Photo Editor

By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer

Although she hasn’t been at Baylor long, middle blocker Laché Harper has made the most of her time in Waco. In 15 games as a Bear, she’s totaled 50 blocks, 29 kills, seven digs and 55 total points. As impressive as her statistics are, she has just as much of an impact off the court.

“She brought a lot of wisdom and great perspective as we navigated through the social injustice issues and the challenges with COVID,” head coach Ryan McGuyre said. “She’s a very trustworthy person.”

Harper’s arrival at Baylor was years in the making, as 2019 graduate Nicole Thomas was instrumental in bringing her to Waco. Harper and Thomas both grew up in Richmond, Va., and played for the same club team in high school. Once Harper entered the transfer portal, Thomas’ endorsement helped sell the Bears on the former UCF middle blocker.

The interest was mutual. Harper was just as drawn to Baylor as they were to her. She was looking for a welcoming environment and found exactly that with the Bears.

“I definitely feel like the family atmosphere I felt on my visit was just so inviting,” Harper said. “Everyone was just so friendly and welcoming when I came to visit, so that really sold it for me. Of course they’re amazing at volleyball … so that was definitely a plus.”

Harper also noted Baylor’s focus on Christianity as an appealing factor for her, citing team bible studies and the ability to be open about her faith within the team and the university at large as some of the factors that drew her to the program. Off-court factors aside, Harper has fit like a glove on the Baylor front line, and has been key in a number of wins, most notably the matches against West Virginia. Harper was effective against the Mountaineers, with seven blocks in the first match and four in the second.

“I don’t know what was in the air or what it was, but I think everyone was so free and that was the most fun game that I think we’ve played,” Harper said.

Harper comes from an athletic background. Her father Ollie played basketball at Niagara University and her older brother Justin played at the University of Richmond and spent three years in the NBA. In such a competitive family, Harper couldn’t help but strive for success on the volleyball court.

“Seeing how my siblings and my dad just took to sports and their motivation, encouraged me as a child and even as I am now to just push for the limits and know that I can’t get limited by anything,” Harper said.

Harper, the only player on Baylor’s roster that won’t return next season, was honored by the team after the Bears’ final match of the fall, where they swept Kansas State to finish second in the Big 12. Affectionately referred to as ‘Laché Day,’ Harper said the ceremony was fitting for such a key component of the team.

“That was more than anything I could’ve ever dreamed or asked for,” Harper said. “They had a video of my mom, which really just got me, and she was able to come as well to that match … That just meant everything to me.”

Harper and the Bears will be back in action in the spring as they turn their attention to the NCAA championship tournament.

Baylor senior middle blocker Lache Harper htis the ball during Baylor's victory game against Kansas State 3-1. Brittney Matthews | Photo Editor
Baylor senior middle blocker Lache Harper htis the ball during Baylor's victory game against Kansas State 3-1. Brittney Matthews | Photo Editor

No. 7 Lady Bears dominate Tech in Big 12 home opener

Texas Tech guard Vivian Gray (12) battles the Baylor defense during an NCAA basketball game on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

By Harper mayfield | Sports Writer

Baylor women’s basketball put on a dominant showing against Texas Tech, beating the Lady Raiders 91-45 Monday night at the Ferrell Center. The win pushes Baylor’s home winning streak to 58 games, the longest in the nation.

The win is Baylor’s second consecutive victory, following the team’s win over West Virginia on Dec. 10. It was also Baylor’s largest margin of victory on the year, at 46 points. Leading the Lady Bears was junior forward NaLyssa Smith with 21 points and nine rebounds. Other statistical standouts included transfer guard DiJonai Carrington, who finished with 13 points, and sophomore guard Jordyn Oliver, who finished with eight points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Head coach Kim Mulkey thought several Lady Bears played their best game of the season.

“I thought our rebounding was significant tonight,” Mulkey said. “The challenge I gave to NaLyssa Smith, DiDi [Richards] and Moon [Ursin] defensively on those three scoring guards, they accepted it. I’m as proud of what they did on the defensive end as I am of what they did offensively.”

The Texas Tech offense has the potential to be a lethal one, but Baylor’s nationally renowned defense was able to keep the Lady Raider’s high-level scorers in check.

“They have three of the best scoring players in our conference,” Mulkey said. “Vivian Gray transferred there, all-conference player from Oklahoma State, and then you add [Chrislyn Carr and Lexi Gordon] to the mix. Those are three kids who can flat out score the basketball.”

The Lady Bears were able to lock down Tech, as only Gray scored in double figures. Carr and Gordon added seven and eight points, respectively.

Baylor was dominant from the tip, but the first quarter was the game’s most competitive. Tech had a lead twice in the quarter, the only two times that would happen for the Lady Raiders all game. With just over four minutes remaining in the quarter, Tech led 8-7, but Baylor was all but deterred, going on a 13-3 run to close the quarter with a 20-11 lead.

Baylor opened the second quarter on a 7-0 run, stretching the lead to 16. A 9-0 run later in the quarter would extend the Baylor lead even further. Smith led the Lady Bears in second quarter scoring with five points, while junior forward Caitlin Bickle added four rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot. The Lady Bears went into halftime with a 40-23 lead.

The Baylor dominance continued in the third, buoyed by 10 points and four rebounds from Smith, and four points and five rebounds from junior center Queen Egbo. The Lady Bears dominated in the post, scoring 14 of the team’s total 24 points in the paint. Six of those 14 came off second chance points, which came by way of Baylor’s five offensive rebounds. Baylor ended the third with a 64-36 lead.

Entering the final quarter with a 28 point lead, the Lady Bears could’ve taken their foot off the gas, but kept pushing. A 21-2 run to open the quarter extended the lead to 47. Tech wouldn’t come much closer, only cutting one point into the deficit. Redshirt junior Trinity Oliver closed strong for the Lady Bears with six points and three rebounds, while Jordyn Oliver posted five points, four rebounds and four assists. Jordyn Oliver said she feels the young players on the roster are beginning to find their footing.

“I feel like we found our groove, just over time we’re going to keep getting more and more comfortable,” Oliver said. “I think it’s only game five, like Coach always says, so over time we’re just going to keep getting more and more comfortable.”

Baylor will be back on the court on Wednesday, as they welcome Southern to Ferrell Center at 2:00 p.m. The game will air on Big 12 Now and ESPN+.

Baylor closes season with double-digit loss to Oklahoma State

Baylor senior cornerback Zeke Brown fights off OSU's Tay Martin after intercepting a pass from OSU quarterback Spencer Sanders in the end zone during the third quarter. The Bears fell to Oklahoma State 42-3 Saturday at McLane Stadium. Photo by Josh Fralick | Courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor

A season riddled with change, uncertainty and disappointment came to an end with a whimper for Baylor football as the Bears closed out 2020 with a 42-3 loss to Oklahoma State Saturday night at McLane Stadium.

Baylor fans finally got what they’ve been demanding all season — Jacob Zeno at quarterback. The redshirt freshman filled in for senior starting QB Charlie Brewer at the end of the third quarter due to Brewer experiencing shoulder pain. According to head coach Dave Aranda, Zeno has been Baylor’s No. 2 at quarterback for a while now.

Zeno entered the game following Oklahoma State’s fifth touchdown of the night and was sacked on third down for a three-and-out drive. He finished the night 5-for-8 in completions with 18 passing yards and 13 rushing yards while Brewer accounted for 68 passing yards on 13 completions out of 26 attempts and -16 rushing yards, and was sacked three times.

Due to COVID-19 protocol, the Bears were without 47 players, coaches, staff members and other personnel including most of the coaching staff on the offensive side of the ball. Running backs coach Justin Johnston took over play calling duties from offensive coordinator Larry Fedora. Aranda said that without the usual offensive coaching staff available, Baylor had to change the scope of their plans.

“I credit to Oklahoma State on defense – they changed what they were doing,” Aranda said. “They were primarily heavy man and heavy zero, an aggressive coverage and press and all of it, and they really played none of that today … so I think coverage-wise those adjustments that needed to be made, I think with the unique circumstances we had we struggled to make those just on both ends of it.”

Baylor put up a lackluster 156 yards of offense. Freshman running backs Taye McWilliams and Qualan Jones combined for 55 yards rushing on 12 carries. Jones also led in reception yards with 37 on eight catches.

The Cowboys were without their star running back Chubba Hubbard, who opted out of the remainder of the season in order to prepare for the NFL Draft. But OSU more than made up for his absence with the help of wide receiver Dillon Stoner and running back Dominic Richardson, who accounted for three touchdowns each.

The Cowboys 42 points and 608 offensive yards were the most allowed by Baylor’s defense all season. Despite their uncharacteristic performance on defense, the Bears still managed 71 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions. Junior safety Christian Morgan knabbed his third interception of the season, making it three consecutive games that the Houston native has come up with a pick. Morgan also finished with 11 total tackles, one shy of tying his career-high.

Junior safety/linebacker Jalen Pitre completed a season high 1.5 sacks as well as 1.5 tackles for loss out his eight total tackles and finished the season with a team best 13 tackles for loss. Junior linebacker Abram Smith led the Bears with 13 tackles, nine solo. Smith, who took over for Terrel Bernard as one of Baylor’s starting linebackers, has led the team with double-digit tackles through the last four games. The junior said he’s just tried to make the most of is opportunities on the field.

“The biggest takeaway is just getting comfortable back there, seeing everything, just filling my role, making sure I’m there when I need to be,” Smith said. “In terms of tackling, I mean, I feel like I left a lot out there on the table today, so still a lot of room to improve.”

The Cowboys held Baylor scoreless until the fourth quarter when the Bears finally broke onto the board with a field goal, their only score of the night. Starting at their own 20, the Bears picked up four first downs and converted on third down twice to march into Cowboy territory to set up sophomore kicker John Mayers for the 40-yard FG kick to avoid the shutout.

Oklahoma State’s onslaught began 18 seconds into the game when Cowboys quarterback Spencer Sanders found Stoner with a swift pass on a second-down play which the running back took the house for a 75-yard touchdown. Sanders was intercepted by Morgan on OSU’s next drive but the Bears were unable to take advantage, punting on a 4th-and-7.

Stoner’s torment on the Bears continued with a 15-yard touchdown run on the following drive and a 40-yard TD pass from Sanders to start the second quarter. Another three-and-out for Baylor led to another scoring drive by the Cowboys, this time a 17-yard rushing touchdown by Richardson.

Baylor entered the half trailing 28-0 with just 52 yards of offense.

Halfway through the third quarter, Sanders almost completed his fourth touchdown pass of the night but was picked off in the endzone by senior cornerback Zeke Brown. Brown came up with his second career interception (his first was against Kansas in 2019) after having to wrestle with Cowboys wide receiver Tay Martin after coming down with the ball.

“Zeke’s such a cool story. What a great person he is,” Aranda said of his senior cornerback. “I’ve got so much respect and love for him because you could see him grow, you could see him kind of get out of his shell, you could see him be the person he’s supposed to be. And for him to fight through some adversity today and come up with a play like that is pretty cool because he’s still fighting.”

But despite the effort by Brown, Baylor wasn’t able to capitalize offensively, advancing just six plays and 13 yards before punting. OK State added touchdown No. 5 on a 2-yard rush by Richardson. After Zeno took over at QB for Brewer and led the Bears to their only points if the game, OSU responded with its final score of the night on another rushing TD by Richardson.

Even though the season was less than kind for Baylor, Aranda said he saw a lot of positives come out of his team this year even if they didn’t show in the final game.

“The complications of the season can bring out the best in people and I’ve seen it,” Aranda said. “You feel inspired, you feel this is where you’re supposed to be and this is what you’re supposed to be doing. This is bigger than football when you’re around that type of inspiration when there’s tough stuff and things suck and guys are going above and beyond, and there’s been quite a few of that. That’s what I’m going to remember. It’s not today. I just feel this is uncharacteristic of us and I take the full responsibility for it. I think when you have adversity, it gives people an opportunity to reveal themselves, and we got some really good people.”

Lady Bears open conference play with road win over West Virginia

West Virginia guard Kirsten Deans (3) shoots while defended by Baylor center Hannah Gusters (20) and guard Sarah Andrews (24) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, in Morgantown, W.Va. (AP Photo/Kathleen Batten)

By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer

Baylor women’s basketball bounced back with a 65-45 win over West Virginia on Thursday in the WVU Coliseum Thursday night.

Following a surprising loss to Arkansas on Sunday, the no. 7 Bears utilized a 24-point burst in the third quarter to blow by the Mountaineers. Senior guard DiJonai Carrington lead the game in scoring off the bench with 19 points in 26 minutes, providing the boost Baylor needed to surpass West Virginia.

Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said the team’s inexperience was to blame for Sunday’s loss but that they would improve with more playing time.

“You’re gonna win some, you’re gonna lose some,” Mulkey said. “We’ve got a team that is young and inexperienced. They just need to play.”

Baylor looked inexperienced at times throughout the first half as West Virginia managed to stick with Bears early and were able to go into halftime tied 28-28. The Mountaineer’s star senior guard and leading scorer Kysre Gondrezick had a strong first half, scoring nine points. Gondrezick has averaged 23 points per game this season.

Mulkey identified the second quarter as a potential tipping point in the game. The Bears used a lineup consisting of mostly newcomers alongside experienced senior guard Moon Ursin, who Mulkey said held the team together during that stretch.

“We could’ve lost the game in the second quarter, with Carrington, Smith and Queen on the bench,” Mulkey said. “She [Ursin] was the returning player on the floor that was playing with a lot of confidence.”

Baylor came out of the break a different team, using a quick 9-0 run to pull away from West Virginia. Carrington came alive in the third quarter, scoring 14 of her 19 points, which Mulkey said was a major reason for Baylor’s success out of intermission.

“You become a much more confident basketball team when you can hit some perimeter shots,” Mulkey said. “[Carrington] hit some shots that relaxed everybody and gave us some confidence.”

The Bear’s defense also improved later in the game, as they held Gondrezick to zero points scored in the second half, and the Mountaineers to a measly six points in the fourth quarter.

“We just started playing our caliber of basketball,” Ursin said. “We started defending and that’s where it started at, on the defensive end. That got us going.”

With the win, Baylor claimed its first conference win of the season, as they seek to claim their 12th Big 12 championship.

“I think we bounced back well tonight,” Ursin said. “We still got things to work on, we still got a lot of shots to knock down, but we’re getting there. It’s one game at a time.”

Baylor will continue conference play next Monday against Texas Tech in the Ferrell Center. After a two-game road stretch, Mulkey said it will be good to return to Waco.

“It will be nice to be back home,” Mulkey said. “Any program would tell you, ‘heck yea we want to be back home’. This trip going back for three and a half hours will be a lot more pleasant after a victory.”

Monday’s game against Texas Tech will be at 6 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNU.

No. 2 Bears roll over SFA in home opener

Stephen F. Austin guard David Kachelries, center, shoots between Baylor guards Davion Mitchell, left, and Jared Butler, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Waco, Texas. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald via AP)

By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor

With 43 points off the bench, No. 2 Baylor men’s basketball rolled to a 4-0 start on an 83-52 victory over Stephen F. Austin in the Bears’ home opener Wednesday night. Baylor played an aggressive defense that forced 35 turnovers which led to 40 of Baylor’s points.

Head coach Scott Drew said his team knew how tough it would be to play the Lumberjacks, especially on short notice.

“I can tell you when we knew we were going to play SFA, Coach [Kyle] Keller does an unbelievable job with his team. They were 28-3 last year with an 18-game win streak. Eight returning players from last year’s team and a ton of seniors and juniors. So we knew we had our work cut out for us,” Drew said. “Coming off finals, I was obviously worried about the players’ energy and rhythm with not practicing as much. But I thought they did a great job. That run at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half was really the difference.”

The first half was defense heavy and highly physical with the Bears regaining a short lead over SFA early in the game and building it up as the half continued. It wasn’t until the end of the half that Baylor began to pull away, going on a 9-0 run back-to-back-to-back three pointers by freshman guard LJ Cryer, junior forward Matthew Mayer and sophomore transfer guard Adam Flagler. Baylor then came out of the half with a three-pointer by starting junior guard Davion Mitchell, who said he was looking to shoot when the defenders went under on the pick-and-roll while he was on top.

“It just kind of depends on the way the game is going,” Mitchell said. “I don’t want to take a crazy shot when we like to get to the hole or something like that. But nine times out of 10, I’m looking to shoot when they go under.”

Flagler led the Bears in scoring with 14 points, knocking down 11 in the first half alone. He went 3-for-5 from the three and 3-for-4 from the free throw line while also nabbing three steals. Sophomore forward Johnathan Tchamwa Tchatchua followed with 13 points and six rebounds, while junior starting guard Jared Butler tallied 12 points and seven assists.

Mitchell scored 11 points of his own and also had seven assists and four steals. Mayer grabbed 10 points off the bench with an assist, two steals and two blocks. Of the five players to score in double digits against the Lumberjacks, three of them were non-starters.

“I love our bench,” Drew said. “I think Coach Keller gave our bench the biggest compliment when he said they’ve been playing our bench’s highlights from the Illinois game in their locker room just to show how energized. We’ve gotten so many compliments nationwide about how our bench really gives us energy.”

While the Bears stood out statistically, shooting 89% from the free throw line while forcing a large number of turnovers and garnering major production from their bench, it was SFA who won the battle of the boards 33-28, gaining five more rebounds off the offensive glass with 12 offensive rebounds to Baylor’s seven. Defensively both teams matched up with 21 boards each. The Bears also gave up 20 turnovers of their own.

Baylor will kick off Big 12 play against Texas at 2 p.m. this Sunday in the Ferrell Center.

Defense still lifting Bears in fall to No. 11 Sooners

Baylor's Abram Smith goes after Oklahoma's Rhamondre Stevenson during the Bears 27-14 loss to the Sooners on Saturday in Norman, Okla. Photo by Joshua R. Gateley | Courtesy of Oklahoma Athletics

By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor

Even though they held No. 11 Oklahoma to its lowest yardage and points of the year, Baylor football was unable to get the win against the Sooners, falling 27-14 Saturday night in Norman, Okla.

The Bears went into the game without senior running back John Lovett and redshirt freshman RB Qualan Jones and lost senior running back Trestan Ebner and sophomore tight end Ben Sims to injuries during the game.

Playing without most of his usual offensive weapons, senior starting quarterback Charlie Brewer took on the burden of the loss onto his own shoulders, saying it was up to him to do more for the team offensively.

“I think whatever is asked of me, I need to do at a high level,” Brewer said. “I’m not going to sit here and make an excuse for or that. I touch the ball every play, so I’ve got to make something happen. If we can’t run the ball, then I’ve got to somehow make something happen in the passing game.”

Even with the loss, Baylor outgained Oklahoma, putting up 288 yards of offense, 263 of which were through the air. Brewer completed 30 of 56 attempts, setting a school-record 815 completions. However, he was also intercepted twice and was sacked three times.

Coming off what was perhaps their best game of the season against Kansas State, the Bears were held scoreless in the first half. Sophomore kicker John Mayers, who had the winning field goal in the win over the Wildcats, went 0-for-2 in field goal attempts in the first half.

Baylor’s defense continued to keep the Bears in the game, as has been the trend this season. In his third consecutive start, junior linebacker Abram Smith led the team in tackles for the third straight week, tallying up a total of 12 with four for a loss as well as his first career sack. The Bears sacked OU freshman quarterback Spencer Rattler four times on hits by Smith, junior linebacker Jalen Pitre, sophomore defensive tackle Josh Landry and junior safety Christian Morgan.

Head coach Dave Aranda said he was proud of the team for playing with maximum effort against an Oklahoma program that hasn’t gained under 300 yards of offense since 2015.

“There are a lot of guys who played through a lot . . . who had the opportunity to not give max effort and they chose to give max effort,” Aranda said. “I’m proud of those guys. I’m proud of the fight we showed. We have to execute better. On particular sides of the ball, we can get better, and we need to be better. That was my challenge.”

Oklahoma got on the board with a field goal on a 10-play, 72-yard drive after redshirt freshman LB Matt Jones and senior cornerback Raleigh Texada took down OU senior RB Rhamondre Stevenson on back-to-back rushing plays for no gain. Then on third-and-goal Landry got the tackle on Rattler to force the kick.

Baylor started steady in its first offensive drive, advancing 46 yards on 14 plays, with Brewer completing passes to senior wide receiver RJ Sneed, Sims, Ebner and sophomore wide receiver Gavin Holmes for first-downs to put the Bears within Sooner territory. Oklahoma then applied enough pressure to force a loss of a yard and back-to-back incomplete passes forced the Bears to go for a 46-yard field goal that was just short.

The Sooners started their next drive on a sour note thanks to a sack of Rattler by Pitre who then made the tackle on OU freshman WR Marvin Mims to force third down. Baylor senior linebacker William Bradley-King then put a stop to a Stevenson run to send Baylor back on the offensive. But despite taking good field position off a 12-yard punt from OU, the Bears couldn’t get anything going, forcing Mayers to kick once again. The 47-yard field goal attempt was once again short.

With both defenses in high gear for most of the second quarter, both teams traded drives throughout the quarter until Oklahoma found the end-zone with just over a minute left until the half. The Bears entered the half down just 10-0.

Baylor received to start the third quarter but went three-and-out after Brewer was sacked to start the drive. The Sooners then embarked on five play, 52-yard scoring drive, which culminated with a 9-yard touchdown pass from Rattler to OU sophomore Theo Wease to put OU ahead 17-0.

The Bears were finally able to answer with a scoring drive of their own. After advancing 46 yards on 13 plays to the OU 25, Baylor caught a break with an offside penalty against Oklahoma’s Marcus Stripling. Then on fourth-and-3 Brewer lobbed a 25-yard pass to Tyquan Thornton for the touchdown. The extra point by Mayers was good.

OU added a field goal to start the fourth quarter before adding another touchdown on its next drive when Rattler found junior H-back Brayden Willis in the end-zone with an 8-yard pass.

Brewer and the Bears fought their way through a 17-play, 96-yard drive with just over five minutes left to play. Brewer punched in the 2-yard run for the touchdown. Oklahoma punted in its final drive after which Baylor took over with just 30 seconds left on the clock. Five plays and six yards later, brewer was sacked by OU redshirt junior Isaiah Thomas to end the game.

The Sooners will play West Virginia next week before heading to the Big 12 title game against Iowa State on Dec. 19. Baylor will wrap up the season at home in the rescheduled matchup against Oklahoma State next Saturday.

No. 2/1 Bears trounce Huskies in final Vegas bubble game

Baylor's Jared Butler (12) attempts a shot over Washington's Riley Sorn (52) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer

Baylor basketball earned its second win of the season, defeating the Washington Huskies 86-52 Sunday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Junior guard Jared Butler led both teams in scoring with 20 points, as the Bears got revenge on the Huskies, who beat Baylor last year in the Armed Forces Classic.

“We felt like we should have won that game last year,” associate head coach Jerome Tang said. “That didn’t sit well. We were thankful that we got an opportunity to fix that.”

It was complete domination for the Bears the entire night, as Baylor jumped out to a 25-5 lead with nine minutes left in the first half and didn’t allow Washington to get much closer.

Sophomore guard Adam Flagler said the fast start could be attributed to Baylor’s stellar defense, which laid the foundation for Baylor’s offense.

“The great start started from defense,” Flagler said. “Defense is the main thing we are always worried about. We executed.”

Tang was pleased with the improvement that Baylor showed on the defensive side of the ball after the Bears gave up 82 points to Louisiana in last night’s contest.

“I’m a happy camper with the effort on the defensive end today,” Tang said. “I was pleased with our guys focus. I thought we were pretty locked in.”

Baylor was able to contain Washington star senior point guard Quade Green, holding him to only two points. Flagler said making Green’s life difficult as a point guard was one of Baylor’s main focus in the game.

“He was an important piece of their team that we put some emphasis on,” Flagler said. “We did everything that we could to make sure he was flustered and out of whack because he is the leader of that team and the engine.”

Baylor continued to trade buckets with Washington until halftime, where the Bears led 38-24. Flagler continued to have a positive impact off the bench, scoring 17 points and hitting five threes.

Baylor’s most significant advantage over Washington came in the rebounding department, where the Bears outrebounded the Huskies 50-15. Senior forward Mark Vital equaled Washington’s rebounding total by himself, grabbing 15 boards of his own.

Baylor continued to further their lead in the second half. A 14-3 mini-run mid-way through the second half firmly put the game away for the Bears, who were able to cruise to the finish.

Sophomore forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua showed encouraging signs of development tonight. Tchamwa Tchatchoua finished the game with 12 points and nine rebounds, one board shy of his first career double-double. Tang was quick to comment on both Tchamwa Tchatchoua and junior forward Flo Thamba’s improved defensive ability.

“They made it tougher for their [Washington’s] bigs to touch the ball in comfortable areas and then when they did touch the ball they did a good job of taking away their strengths,” Tang said. “I felt like they were more locked into the scouting report.”

Baylor will take on two top-ten opponents this week in No. 8 Illinois and No. 1 Gonzaga. Tang said the players are excited for the difficult matchups and the opportunity to play more basketball.

“These guys are going to be excited to play anybody because games are precious right now,” Tang said. “The fact that the teams are highly ranked and have got some really good players, that’s only going to heighten our guys focus.”

The Bears will take on Illinois at 9:00 p.m. Wednesday in Indianapolis. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Bears break losing streak with second half comeback over Kansas State

By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer, Video by Nate Smith | Broadcast Reporter

Baylor got its second win of the season, beating Kansas State 32-31 on a cold and rainy Saturday night at McLane Stadium. Sophomore kicker John Mayers hit a 30-yard field goal as time expired to break the Bears’ five-game losing streak.

Head coach Dave Aranda’s first season in Waco has been filled with adversity, and even in one of this season’s high points, he and the team had to fight through a negative mindset.

“I think that losing breeds losing,” Aranda said. “I think for us as coaches, a lot of the players, the leadership with our players, you just fight the natural instinct that when something goes bad it’s gonna lead to something else going bad.”

Starring for the Bears was senior quarterback Charlie Brewer, who totaled 349 passing yards, 56 rushing yards and four total touchdowns. Other big nights came from junior receivers RJ Sneed and Josh Fleeks, both of whom had six catches on the night. Despite his dominance Brewer was quick to credit his teammates. While Brewer wouldn’t give himself his due, senior running back Trestan Ebner was quick to commend Brewer’s performance.

“Charlie is the Baylor program. Charlie is what defines Baylor football,” Ebner said. “He’s hardworking. He’s tough. He puts his all into the game. People have seen him be physical and be tough today, but they overlook that in the losses.”

The third quarter saw a reinvigorated Baylor team. Big plays from Ebner and Sneed lead to two scores for the Bears, trimming the deficit to just two points after a failed two-point conversion. Baylor also managed to keep the Wildcats off the board during the quarter.

The Wildcats added to their lead in the fourth quarter with a 25-yard run by freshman QB Will Howard to which the Bears responded with a TD to Ebner on an 8-yard pass, cutting the deficit back down to two points, 24-22. Freshman running back Deuce Vaughn expanded K-State’s lead once again with 38-yard touchdown run. Brewer then took Baylor on a nine play, 54-yard drive, and drove in a one-yarder with just over four minutes left to play.

The Bears’ defense came up big in K-State’s final drive, forcing a punt for Baylor to try and make something happen with just under two minutes left on the clock.

Brewer, looking like the player that led Baylor to the Sugar Bowl a year ago, hit receiver after receiver to set up Mayers for the game-winner on a 10-play, 57-yard drive. An opportunity to save a game carries with it a good deal of pressure, especially considering the special teams miscues the Bears suffered in the first half, but Mayers said he remained calm with the game on the line.

“Coach [Matthew] Powledge asked me what my preference was and I said … ‘It doesn’t matter, it’s going in anyway,” Mayers said.

Baylor’s first quarter was up and down. The Bears ended K-State’s first possession with an interception by junior safety JT Woods. Later in the quarter, Woods would be ejected for targeting. Brewer scored Baylor’s only points of the quarter on a 7-yard scramble. However, Baylor would fail to get the PAT in the air after a high snap.

Baylor then gave up two unanswered touchdowns to the Wildcats in the first, one on a 75-yard run by K-State sophomore wide receiver Malik Knowles and another on an 8-yard pass to Vaughn. At the end of one, Baylor had gained only nine yards of offense, totaling -7 yards rushing and 16 through the air.

The second quarter didn’t do the Bears any favors either, as Kansas State continued to extend its lead with a field goal. An interception by junior safety Christian Morgan seemed to give Baylor some life, but the team failed to capitalize. Brewer put together several solid runs, including a 20-yarder that brought Baylor inside the K-State 40, but the Bears didn’t find the end zone or the uprights, going into the half down 17-6.

Baylor will be back on the field Dec. 5 for a trip to Norman to take on Oklahoma in a rematch of last year’s Big 12 championship.

No. 2 Baylor takes scorching win over Louisiana in season opener

Louisiana-Lafayette's Isaiah Richards grabs a rebound next to Baylor's Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (23) and Mark Vital (11) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer

No. 2 Baylor basketball won its season opener 112-82 against Louisiana in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

Senior guard MaCio Teague led the way, scoring 21 points and three three-pointers while leading the team with seven rebounds. Junior guards Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell followed Teague’s lead, both scoring 18 points.

Associate-head coach Jerome Tang said the Bears’ offense excelled because of the team’s selflessness and ability to share the ball.

“The shots went in,” Tang said. “I felt like we took a lot of uncontested shots and that was teammates creating shots for each other. The guys shared the ball and found their teammates.”

Baylor totaled 25 assists in the game, doubling Louisiana’s 12 assists. Mitchell said the team’s many scoring options made sharing the ball easy.

“Anyone can go off any night,” Mitchell said. “We’re gonna share the sugar. We’re gonna have fun.”

The Ragin’ Cajuns kept the game competitive early, trading buckets with the Bears in the first half. Half-way through the first half, Baylor was only leading by one, 23-22, after Mark Vital was assessed a technical foul for taunting. Tang attributed the slow start to rust and the fact that Baylor had not played a game in over seven months.

“The first three minutes of the game, four minutes of the game, you could see the guys really winded,” Tang said. “This was the first time in 266 days they stepped on the court and played against someone else and game speed is so much different than practice.”

However, Baylor went on a quick 15-0 run and never looked back, looking dominant for the rest of the game. Sophomore guard Adam Flagler and freshman guard LJ Cryer served as spark plugs off the bench for the Bears offensively. Flagler totaled 12 points and a team-high seven assists, while Cryer stepped in to score 17 points, hitting five threes in only 14 minutes of action.

Tang was particularly impressed with Cryer’s play, who made his collegiate debut tonight.

“Every day he gets to play against the best guards in America, and there are a lot of days when he does not look like a freshman,” Tang said. “Our team trusts him. He could be the best freshman guard we’ve ever had. He’s going to be an All-Big 12 guy before it’s all said and done.”

Baylor went into the half with a commanding 53-40 lead and continued to pour it on after the break. The Bears shot an impressive 55% from three-point range as the Ragin’ Cajuns were unable to keep up with Baylor’s blistering offense.

While Tang said the offensive performance was good, he was not happy with the Bears on defense.

“When you look at the scoreboard, they scored 82 points. That automatically doesn’t make you a happy camper,” Tang said. “When you look at the stat sheet, they shot 52% from the field. That also does not make me a happy camper.”

Mitchell said the team remains committed to the defensive side of the ball and the Bears will get better as they play more games.

“It wasn’t as good,” Mitchell said. “We haven’t played in a long time so that first wind was pretty hard. We can do somethings to get better. We’ll keep working on it.”

Baylor still managed to force turnovers, which was a trademark of last year’s team. The Bears scored 30 points off of 19 Louisiana turnovers.

A 9-0 run with eight minutes left in the second half put Baylor up 96-65 and sealed the game for the Bears.

Junior forward Flo Thamba and sophomore forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua stepped in to fill the void that last year’s starting center Freddie Gillespie left. The duo performed modestly, with both Thamba and Tchamwa Tchatchoua scoring six points. Tang identified their play in the post as an area the team needs to improve on before its next game against Washington.

“Jonathan and Flo are going to be a work-in-progress throughout the season,” Tang said. “I thought that we didn’t have any rim-protection tonight. We didn’t vertically contest. We didn’t take any charges. We didn’t have blocked shots. We didn’t take away the strong shoulder of the opponent. That’s an area that, especially for tomorrow night because Washington is such a big team, we are going to have to improve.”

Baylor will take on Washington at 5 p.m. Sunday in at T-Mobile Arena. The game will streamed again on FloSports.

No. 2/1 Bears face Cajuns in Vegas

Jared Butler takes a shot against Kansas during a top-ranked matchup on Feb. 22 at the Ferrell Center. Lariat File Photo

By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor

No. 2/1 Baylor men’s basketball has had a whirlwind of a week. The Bears, who had to withdraw from the Empire Classic on Tuesday after head coach Scott Drew tested positive for COVID-19, will now open the season Saturday in Las Vegas against the University of Louisiana-Lafayette followed by a rematch with Washington on Sunday.

Despite the circumstances, Drew was relentless in finding a way to get his team on the court, and just a few days after withdrawing from the Empire Classic, Baylor found itself on a plane to Vegas.

“The worst thing in the world you can do is give Scott time and isolate him so his family can’t distract him and nobody can either, and he’s got a phone and a computer,” associate head coach Jerome Tang said. “I mean his brain is just going. He was relentless. If he needed to get 64 teams together to start the season, he would have got that done … We wanted our guys to be able to compete this weekend.”

The week may have been chaotic, but according to Tang and junior guard Jared Butler, the Bears are taking it day-by-day and holding on to hope that nothing else keeps them from playing.

“Seems like we’re at the court on the pick-up and we’re trying to find somebody to play, almost like AAU in a sense, too. But, I just think we’re really excited to play and ready to get out there,” Butler said.

Baylor may not be facing two ranked teams like originally planned, but according to Tang, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Bears are easing into the season. Baylor had spent weeks preparing to face the likes of Arizona State and No. 3 Villanova. Now they’ll have to dive into studying two tough, well-coached teams almost overnight.

“The technology today is great,” Tang said. “[Louisiana] Coach [Bob] Marlin has been doing this for a long time. His teams always play hard and share the ball and they can really score in transition. With Mike [Hopkins]’s team at Washington, they’re going to play that zone and they have length. There are certain things you can prepare for, and the rest of it you hope certain habits take over.”

The Bears have not faced the Ragin’ Cajuns since Nov. 17, 2013, when they defeated Louisiana 87- 68 in Waco. The two teams have met a total of 11 times but only once in the Scott Drew era. Baylor leads the series 7-3.

The Cajuns are coming off an 8-12 season that saw them finish eighth in the Sun Belt Conference. This season, half of Louisiana’s 14 roster spots consist of newcomers with several transfers, a couple of first-years and a walk-on joining the squad.

“We have to face Louisiana first and they’re a very good team and they’re very well coached. Bob Marlin has been doing this a long time and has been successful at the highest level,” Tang said. “His team will be well prepared and they play together. They suffered a lot of injuries last year, but even with that they were in every ballgame.”

Even with all the new faces, Butler, a native of Reserve, La., said he recognizes several of the Cajuns’ players from his high school days.

“I know about, I think three or four guys. I played against some of them, some of them I just know of just from high school basketball,” Butler said. “I think they’re a pretty good team, a team that can score the ball at a high level in transition, so it’s going to be fun.”

Even without their head coach, who will be back with the team by Tuesday prior to Baylor’s matchup with No. 8 Illinois in Indianapolis, the Bears have kept their spirits high and their focus on the court. Butler said the team is very comfortable with Tang’s coaching. The associated head coach has been on Baylor’s coaching staff during the entirety of Drew’s tenure.

“It’s definitely been a different type of speed. Coach Drew and Coach Tang are two totally different people, but in a sense they’re the same person. They’ve got the same morals, same attitude, same passion for the game,” Butler said. “Coach Tang is someone we’re super comfortable with, somebody that’s super comfortable with Baylor in general. I think we’ve been able to adjust, and he’s done a good job of adjusting and keeping the confidence of the team and not making it seem like a let-off. I think we’ve adjusted pretty well.”

Baylor and Louisiana will tip-off at 7 p.m. at T-Mobile Arena. The game will be broadcast on Baylor IMG College radio and streamed on FloHoops.

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