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Just keep playing: Lady Bears clinch portion of conference title with win over K-State

Junior forward NaLyssa Smith helped the Lady Bears defeat Kansas State 85-49 in the Ferrell Center on Saturday, draining 16 points for the Lady Bears. Sarah Pinkerton | Photographer

Baylor women’s basketball continued their winning ways on Saturday, beating Kansas State 85-49 at the Ferrell Center. With this win, they clinched a share of another Big 12 title, their 11th-straight and 12th in 21 years.

At 19-2 on the season, with a 14-1 Big 12 record, Baylor still sits atop the conference. With three in-conference games remaining, the Lady Bears have secured at least a portion of this season’s Big 12 championship. With certain results, Baylor could secure the entirety of the title. Either way, this game was a meaningful one for the team’s senior leadership.

“I remember stepping on this campus and there were days I didn’t think I was going to make it,” said senior guard Moon Ursin. “Just homesick and sad. But I’m here now, it’s been a great four years and it was real emotional. I’ll be honest — I really couldn’t sleep last night. Excited, nervous, anxious, just all of it. I’ve been with these [girls] for four years, and Coach Mulkey. It’s hard to feel like these moments are coming to a close.”

Even a seasoned veteran like head coach Kim Mulkey was touched by the culmination of an extremely adverse season.

“It just hits you in that moment,” Mulkey said. “It’s such a simplistic statement, I think Dolly Parton said it.’ If you’re going to enjoy that rainbow you’re going to have to go through the rain.’ In 35 years of coaching, I have never coached under these circumstances. It’s scary, it’s frustrating, and yet I think of the kids that were in that corner over there with their championship hats on. They just kept playing. Whatever was asked of them they did it. They just kept playing.”

While one more trophy in Baylor’s already packed cabinet might not seem like much, Mulkey has a deep appreciation for how far the program has come.

“I think back to 2000, we were at the bottom of the Big 12 when we took this job,” Mulkey said. “We took baby steps, we celebrated every single thing. We celebrated when we couldn’t have a losing season. We celebrated when we beat our first ranked opponent. We celebrated when we won our first road game…When you step back and you think about what we’ve done in 21 years, coaches are not blessed to have that many great players come through a program.”

Against K-State, the Lady Bears were led by junior center Queen Egbo, who scored 19 points to go along with four rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Egbo was incredibly efficient in all phases of the game, shooting 7-9 from the field and 5-5 from the free throw line. Baylor got efficient nights from Ursin and junior forward NaLyssa Smith as well. Ursin scored 15 points on 6-11 shooting, while adding eight assists and five rebounds. Smith, Baylor’s leading scorer, put up 16 points with just four misses. Egbo’s strong night was greatly appreciated by her teammates, especially Ursin.

“Queen is a hard player to stop, hard player to guard, when she’s Queen,” Ursin said. “To get her going, it’s just as exciting to make the pass.”

The efficiency from Baylor’s leaders showed up in other portions of the game, too. The Lady Bears shot over 50% from the field throughout the game, and hit just under 43% of their shots from three point land. On the other end of the floor, Baylor held K-State to 33% from the floor, allowing the Wildcats just one quarter in which they shot above 38%.

As much as Baylor was able to celebrate tonight, their season is far from over. They’ll take the floor again at 6 p.m. Monday to face off with the Texas Longhorns in Austin at UT’s Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Special Events Center. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Bears bounce back big with upset of No. 17 Auburn in Round Rock Classic

Jared McKenzie hits a home run in the third inning against Auburn in Baylor's 12-6 win Saturday at Dell Diamond. Photo courtesy of the Round Rock Classic staff

By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor

If you want to know what it’s like being a hometown hero, ask Jared McKenzie. After going 0-for-5 against Texas A&M, the second-year freshman outfielder led Baylor baseball in a 12-6 bulldozing of No. 17 Auburn Saturday at Dell Diamond in game two of the Round Rock classic.

McKenzie lit the fire right away, bashing a home run on the second pitch of the day, giving Baylor a 1-0 lead in the first inning. He kept the power going in his next at-bat, crushing a two-run bomb to the same place in the third inning, scoring designated hitter Antonio Valdez in the process to make it 3-0. The Round Rock native finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs.

“Overall, I thought our offense did a good job yesterday, and today we just kind of continued doing that,” head coach Steve Rodriguez said. “I thought they did a great job competing at the plate, forcing the ball in play and getting some key RBIs and some good swings with guys in scoring position. I thought they made some pretty good adjustments as the game went on, so that was really good to see.”

Compared to Friday night, the Bears looked like a completely different team. They committed only one error but played a clean defensive game otherwise. Offensively, Baylor put up 15 hits and left only five on base. Along with McKenzie, Valdez (2-for-3, two RBI and a run), senior third baseman Esteban Cardoza-Oquendo (2-for-5, two RBI, one run), second-year freshman left fielder Kyle Nevin (3-for-5, one RBI, one run) and JUCO transfer second baseman Jack Pineda (2-for-4, two runs) contributed for Baylor at the plate.

Fourth-year junior lefty Tyler Thomas was stellar in his second start of the season, grabbing his first win while putting up three scoreless frames and striking out three while giving up only two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks. The Keller native didn’t allow a hit until the third inning.

“Tyler Thomas did a phenomenal job getting us deeper into the game, giving us a good chance to win,” Rodriguez said. “He did the same thing last week and just did a really good job minimizing walks, keeping hitters off balance, being able to command both sides of the plate with his stuff and that was really good to see.”

Fifth-year senior Jimmy Winston took over in the sixth, giving up only one run on three hits and three walks while striking out three over three innings.

Auburn’s Richard Fitts took the loss, giving up seven runs on nine hits and only managing two strikeouts as the Bears weren’t taking the bait with his fastball and changeup.

Baylor scored two runs in the fourth thanks to a sacrifice hit by fourth-year junior Davion Downey and an RBI single by Valdez to score senior catcher Andy Thomas and Nevin.

Auburn finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Tyler Miller reached first on a catcher’s interference call, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on a single by outfielder Kason Howell.

The fifth inning was a wild one, as the Bears put up four more runs as McKenzie scored on a passed ball after singling to start the inning. Andy Thomas, who had walked, and Pineda then scored on a hit by Downey who then scored on a single to center by Valdez.

The Tigers managed to slip another past Tyler Thomas in the bottom of the fifth. Baylor came back with three more runs on the sixth.

For the first time since the second inning, Auburn managed to hold the Bears scoreless in the seventh and kept them off the board for the rest of the game with lefty reliver Peyton Glavine on the mound. Miller bashed a home run straight to center to make it a 12-3 game going to the ninth.

Sophomore transfer righty Travis Hester came out to close the ninth, getting a strike out and lineout before walking back-to back guys and allowing two hits for the Tigers to score three runs in an attempted rally. Senior righty Logan Freeman came out of the bullpen to finish the game, walking two to load the bases but striking out pinch hitter Garrett Farquhar looking to close the chapter on Auburn.

The Bears will wrap up the Round Rock Classic at 5 p.m. Sunday facing a familiar foe in Oklahoma for a nonconference matchup.

“I want to see them compete. I want to see them come after it just like they did today, you know, put your best foot forward,” Rodriguez said of Sunday’s matchup. “If you’re going to come out here, you’re going to do some stuff offensively, go ahead and do it. Take some good swings on good pitches. Defensively, we got to continue to make the plays like we did today and pitching, we got to continue to get strikes. If they’re going to beat us, we’re going to have to force them to beat us. We can’t give them anything for free.”

Baylor baseball falls short against Texas A&M to open Round Rock Classic

Sophomore righty Blake Helton throws a pitch during Baylor's 12-4 loss to Texas A&M in the Round Rock Classic Friday night. Helton struck out a career-high six batters. Photo courtesy of Round Rock Classic staff

By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor

Baylor baseball continues to be tormented by Texas A&M as the Bears were unable to avenge their 2019 Shriner’s Classic loss, falling 12-4 to the Aggies Friday night at Dell Diamond for their opening game of the Round Rock Classic.

The Bears were thwarted by their own defensive miscues as four errors and seven walks helped the Aggies in their offensive onslaught. Head coach Steve Rodriguez said the team will look to brush up on their fundamentals to fix those miscues.

“We didn’t do a lot of the fundamental things,” Rodriguez said. “You know, a ball going under a glove in the outfield, missing a ball at second base, a lack of communication with the pitcher and catcher — both of them are going hard. And that’s the thing, they’re going as hard as they can, hopefully just not to an over extent to where they’re losing the fundamental feel for things. It’s just going to take time. They’re all trying to do the hardest they can and the best they can now that they’re playing baseball again.”

Starting pitcher, third-year sophomore righty Blake Helton took another loss, allowing four runs on five hits (two of them earned) and two walks, but striking out a career-high six batters.

Offensively, Baylor was led by second-year freshman designated hitter Cade Currington and JUCO transfer second baseman Jack Pineda who combined to go 4-for-7 and three of Baylor’s four runs. The fourth run came off the bat of redshirt sophomore catcher Kyle Harper, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the eighth to blast a massive home run over left field in his first at bat of the season.

After giving up a lead-off single against his first batter of the night, Helton fanned the next three batters to put up half of his strikeouts for the night. But things turned sour in the second when Helton walked Aggies center fielder Logan Britt and gave up a two-run blast over left to catcher Mikey Hoehner.

A&M threatened in the third inning after a defensive miscue in the middle infield put runners on the corners for the Aggies. Helton walked designated hitter Logan Sartori to load the bases but then dug in and got the next two outs, striking out third baseman Zane Schimdt and getting Britt out at first on a 3-1 groundout.

Despite grinding out a scoreless third and starting the fourth with his sixth strikeout, Helton allowed two more baserunners in the inning and was relieved by second-year freshman Hambleton Oliver. The Aggies added to their lead thanks to an error and a single before Oliver struck out the next two batters to get out of the inning.

The Bears finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth after being held scoreless through three by A&M’s Dustin Saenz. Pineda laced a two-out double to left field. Third-baseman Esteban Cardoza-Oquendo, who returned to the plate after a hit-by-pitch call was overturned, drove Pineda in with a single to center.

The Aggies’ bats didn’t cool down, however, as A&M built up an eight-run lead with five runs in the top of the fifth. Britt singled, and Hoehner walked, and the two managed to score on a single by A&M second baseman Bryce Blaum and an error by Bears center fielder Jared McKenzie. Blaum scored on a single by right fielder Brett Minnich after which first baseman Will Frizzell demolished a two-run bomb over right field.

Baylor plated two more runs in the fifth and sixth when second-year freshman shortstop Tre Richardson drove in Currington in the fifth and Currington singled in the sixth to bring in Pineda.

True freshman righty Grant Golomb relieved Oliver in the top of the sixth, holding the Aggies scoreless for two innings.

Harper’s home run in the eighth wasn’t enough to spark a rally for the Bears, and A&M added two more runs in the eighth and another one in the top of the ninth for insurance.

“I think A&M has a really good team,” Rodriguez said. “But the truth is we made just too many mistakes on defense and on the mound. Offensively, we swung the bats pretty well in certain moments, and if we can continue to hit the ball like that, we’re going to be pretty successful.”

Baylor will be back on the field to face No. 17 Auburn at noon in Round Rock.

Volleyball reopens season with defense-led sweep of North Texas

Kara McGhee and Hannah Sedwick leap to make a block at the net during Baylor's 3-0 sweep of North Texas to open the spring season Friday at the Ferrell Center. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Matthew Soderberg | Editor-in-Chief

No. 6 Baylor volleyball opened its spring season with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-13) sweep over North Texas. The Bears’ defense led the way as the Mean Green failed to hit positive Friday in Waco.

The home team’s offense struggled in its first match in over three months, hitting just .260 while sophomore middle blocker Kara McGhee and junior opposite Marieke van der Mark were the only players to clear .300.

The lack of production from their side of the court didn’t seem to matter much to the Bears as they held North Texas to -.019 with a strong performance from the back of the defensive forward.

““I thought the floor defense was very good. Emily [Van Slate], Callie [Williams], but Shanel [Bramschreiber] did a great job with Soup [Campbell Bowden] and Yossi [Pressley] contributing,” head coach Ryan McGuyre said. “I liked our floor defense, and I liked our serving game, but like I said, the backcourt defense was great.”

Senior outside hitter Yossiana Pressley paced the Baylor offense with 15 kills on 39 attempts, followed by sophomore outside hitter Lauren Harrison with nine on 21 attempts and sophomore middle blocker Kara McGhee with seven on 14.

McGhee also led Baylor’s stout defense with four blocks, while junior libero Shanel Bramschreiber put up 16 digs and sophomore defensive specialist Emily Van Slate supplied 11 to bolster the back line. McGuyre said he thought Baylor’s back line, and especially Bramschreiber, provided an all-star level performance

“Anything that got past the block, we got up,” McGuyre said. “Shanel [Bramschreiber] to me is an All-American libero. She really picked her spots well, and I love how quickly she’s making adjustments. She has great court ownership.”

Senior setter Hannah Sedwick provided a balanced approach with 25 assists, three blocks, three digs and two kills, and junior setter Callie Williams added nine assists with four digs.

After three months off and with an unfamiliar schedule on the way, McGuyre said despite half a season already gone, this spring provides an opportunity to improve even more from their 13-3 conference record.

“It felt like a good 1-0 start to a new season. We’re trying to do what is not easily done,” McGuyre said. “I think it’s important. Like Pepperdine coming in on Sunday, they’ve had eight matches. Some of those misconnections we had tonight, I feel fine and confident that we will get those dialed in, but there’s a little bit more sense of urgency where those hiccups can’t happen against good teams like Pepperdine or Texas next week. We are going to look a lot better in a month, but right now we’re playing those teams that have had a head start.”

The Bears (14-3, 13-3) will return to the court at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Ferrell Center against Pepperdine. The game will be streamed on Big 12 Now through ESPN+.

Baylor students lose their home to winter storm & what your rights are as a renter

Sarah Gill | News Director

Baylor has returned to normal class instruction but many students are still navigating their next steps due to the impact of winter storm Uri. Some students are left searching for water or electricity issues to be resolved, and others are searching for a new home.

One household of eight Baylor students was left inhabitable due to an upstairs ceiling that caved in.

Mandeville La. senior Will Stogner said, “We had a sprinkler pipe upstairs that completely burst because it was too cold, and who knows how long it was flooding, and flooded the whole house. There was probably 2-3 inches of water everywhere, the walls were soaked.”

McKinney senior Dylan Tippit said, “It was a surreal experience just to walk in and look up and realize that the ceiling was on the floor and there was water everywhere.”

The guys rushed to save their most valuable possessions and electronics.

“We were just kinda running around like crazy, trying to grab our stuff and get out,” Tippit said.

With no home, the eight roommates bounced around “couch surfing,” but they knew they couldn’t bounce house to house forever.

Since their home is so severely damaged, Brothers gave them a couple of units at 11th Street Flats to live in.

“So that’s where we’re gonna be spending the rest of the semester as they fix this house because it’s just not livable at this point,” Stogner said.

As for the state of their lease and any other residents facing problems, Phyllis Davis with Brothers Management said, “please note we are doing everything we can… for some properties, we are somewhat at the mercy of the availability of third-party vendors and insurance adjusters.”

If you are facing a similar situation, Baylor professor of law Bridget Fuselier shared some tips and insight regarding your rights as a righter.

Fuselier said, “To trigger the remedies available to a tenant under the property code, an actual written letter has to be sent, and it has to be sent in a method where you can get a return receipt showing that it was received.”

An example of this would be certified mail or registered mail.

Some apartment complexes and property management companies have resident portals to submit maintenance requests. This means that even if you submit a request, you should still send a written letter.

Additionally, Fuselier recommends you send this written letter to the landlord directly. Whether you are living in an apartment or house, you have the right to know who your landlord is, and there are repercussions if your request is denied.

“Sometimes the actual owner of the property doesn’t necessarily know exactly how their property management is handling it,” Fuselier said. “If they realize they have a bunch of unhappy tenants, they might adjust the actions of their property management company.”

Since this is a natural disaster, the timeline looks a little different.

“The period for repair does not begin until the landlord receives insurance proceeds,” Fuselier said.

This muddies the water a bit, meaning there is not a universal certain amount of days before maintenance issues must be fixed.

The following are additional renter’s rights if it is a casualty loss situation, according to the Texas Property Code:

  1. If your home is inhabitable, you have the right to notify your landlord and terminate the lease if the landlord does not fix it.
  2. For issues relating to water and electricity, you have the right to pay for the issues to be fixed and deduct the cost from your rent. This is referred to as the Repair and Deduct Remedy. The cost of repairs is limited to one month of rent or $500, whatever is greater.
  3. You have the right to sue the landlord to have the repairs made and also recover other money damages.

There are specific details that must be followed. Fuselier recommends seeking legal advice before taking any of these actions. Head to texaslawhelp.org or texastenant.org for free legal assistance.

Column: Disney Pixar’s “Soul” has a perspective toward mindfulness and purpose

Disney released it's feature film Soul on it's streaming platform Disney+ on Christmas Day of 2020. Photo courtesy of Disney+

By Christina Cannady | Photographer

Disney Pixar’s latest release “Soul” premiered on Disney+ this past Christmas. The film provided a wholesome and insightful perspective on the meaning of life and the importance of mindfulness. With 2020 being a memory everyone wishes they could forget, “Soul” offered some sweet relief at the end it.

“Soul” follows the journey of Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx), a jazz pianist working as a middle school band instructor in New York. After some great news and an unfortunate accident, Joe finds himself stuck in the afterlife after a near-death-experience. Upon realizing he’s going to have a difficult time getting back to Earth, he teams up with 22 (Tina Fey), a soul stuck in a fictitious place called “The Great Before.”

Disney wanted to explore more mature, adult themes like death, lack of purpose, anxiety and depression. Although we’ve seen similar themes tackled in films like “Inside Out” and “Frozen II,” “Soul” brings a fresh and relatable perspective that Disney’s older audience can connect with.

Bullard junior Katy Dulany shared her thoughts about the film and how it differed from her expectations.

“I think I went in expecting a movie very similar to ‘Inside Out’ and was originally disappointed that it wasn’t as exciting or funny as ‘Inside Out.’ Yet, the more I sat with this movie, the more I realized how it was really quite artful and deep,” Dulany said.

“Soul” addresses the burden we carry as humans to try and find purpose and meaning for why we are here. The main character and first Black lead in a Disney Pixar film, Joe Gardner, has been waiting for his big break to be a professional jazz musician. After receiving the call that will grant him this future, he dies.

Co-writer and co-director of “Soul,” Kemp Powers, explains the story-making process of the film on the season premiere of “Inside Pixar” available on Disney+.

“Feeling cheated by the universe, Joe refuses to die. He’s willing to do anything to fight his way back to Earth to get a second chance at the life that he feels like he’s earned,” Powers said in the premiere.

Susanna Doss, master social worker and senior clinician at the Baylor Counseling Center, also shared her thoughts and insight about the film. She said the filmmakers took on a heavy responsibility by carrying the theme of life’s purpose.

“[It] is very pertinent to college, because one has to declare a major, there is a lot riding financially, expectations, all of that — creating this life, this future for oneself,” Doss said.

Since Joe felt so cheated by the universe, he decided he was going to cheat his way back to Earth. He ends up in a space called “The Great Before,” which is where souls are born and develop their personalities and “sparks” until they’re ready to go to Earth. Here he meets 22, a soul who has never found a spark or reason to go to Earth.

“She thinks there is nothing good about going to Earth. We have this situation where we have a soul who doesn’t want to die being stuck with a soul who doesn’t want to live,” Powers said.

Joe becomes her mentor and sees this as his ticket back. Accompanied by 22, Joe looks at his life laid out before him and believes he never amounted to anything. He spent his life reaching for a dream that he never had the chance to live and thinks this as an utter failure.

“When I saw this, I thought how very true, this feels like life, right? We can often get hung up in this very black or white thinking. So, in mental health … one of the main cognitive errors is this idea of all or nothing thinking. Something has to be true or it isn’t true. You’re wrong, you failed,” Doss said.

Doss said how impressed she was at Disney’s ability to visualize concepts that didn’t seem capable of being visualized. The elements of anxiety and depression in 22’s character, she said, expressed a beautiful and profound understanding of mental illness.

Dulany said she appreciated the motif of mindfulness that was present throughout the film, especially in 22.

“I think what I loved about the movie was how 22 found joy in the very little things in life and how it was the simple moments that reminded her of being alive,” Dulany said. “I think as humans, it really is relationships that are our spark and connecting with our experience as humans through other people, or nature, or music, or whatever it might be.”

Doss said finding little “sparks,” being present and learning to enjoy the simple parts of life are exactly what she often talks about in therapy sessions.

“Find the things that bring us joy, that are healthy for us. Capitalize on them on a day-to-day basis. Do the next right thing, make the next right choice. Focus on what is needed at that moment that feels healthy, which creates a purpose towards the end of life,” Doss said. “We get to look back like [Joe] did at that point and say, what a beautiful life I’ve lived and created. I followed my sparks.”

Doss also shared how using our senses can be an effective way to ground ourselves when feeling overwhelmed or anxious, like when 22 uses this method in the film when she is feeling overwhelmed and uses her surroundings and senses to bring herself back to the present.

“This is [a mindfulness practice] that we use a lot. You’re counting backwards with your senses; you get to choose how you want to do it … I like to do five things you can see, four things you can hear, three things you can touch, two things you can smell and then one thing you can taste,” Doss said.

By doing this, Doss said you’re holding your mind by the hand, almost like a child and bringing it to the present moment. Once you feel grounded, then you can begin to evaluate the emotions that felt overwhelming.

“Soul” is an ambitious existential film that leaves its audience with themes worth contemplating. It highlights how sometimes the most simple or even imperfect parts of life are what make it worthwhile. It emphasizes the importance of mindfulness and being present while creating a low-pressure perspective on purpose.

Instead of worrying about the future and what it all means, it’s imperative that humans slow down and reflect on the miracle that is life. Live and be present in every moment because you never know when it might end.

Bittersweet bakery is moving to new Waco location

Local Waco company, Bittersweet, has decided to relocate its storefront on Austin Avenue. Sarah Pinkerton | Photographer

By Mallory Harris | Staff Writer

Former business student, Hanna Austin created Bittersweet during her time at college as part of the 1846 Business Incubator program in the Hankamer School of Business.

As her business started to take off, Austin said she realized that Bittersweet could become something more. After a year and a half of sharing a kitchen, Austin said she is ready to have a place of her own.

Located at 608 Austin Ave., Bittersweet is known for explosive cookies that are large in both size and flavor. Even during the pandemic, they were able to keep the doors open, by making slight changes in routine.

The Austin Avenue location is closing now in preparation for moving. Austin said the plan is to stay in Waco, but at the current location, she shares a kitchen with other people and wants one just for her business.

“We’re kind of expanding,” Austin said. “I’m always in that kitchen and I feel bad for other people to use it because I’m always at one table,” Austin said. “It makes sense to just get our own kitchen at this point and then we have privacy.”

Throughout Bittersweet’s history, Austin said she uses social media as the main way to market new flavors, upcoming plans and business in general. She explained that while the doors are shut, she is using Instagram to market to her customers and keep them updated with news of her moving.

Austin said she is constantly looking at the market for a new building. She already has a few spots in mind but they need kitchen renovations before opening back up.

“It’s a little bit trickier than I thought to move and so we are going to have to get a gas line into a shop wherever we move,” Austin said. “There are new locations on the market every day so we’re just keeping an eye out.”

On Bittersweet’s Instagram, Austin hyped up a big marketing push for Valentine’s Day. As she introduced new flavors and unique designs, Austin said that Feb. 14 was originally a goal opening date. However, due to multiple changes, Austin had to scratch that plan.

“Because I did make that promise, I’m going to do a market-style type of Valentine’s Day thing outside of whatever location we are going to end up opening at, so you can still come and buy cookies all day,” Austin said.

Ennis junior Kaleigh Wright, a Bittersweet customer, said she loved the cookies and the service. The idea of a student-run small business added to the appeal, Wright said, and was impressed by how the bakery has become a staple to the Waco and Baylor community.

This next step in her growing business is exciting, Austin said. She’s hiring for the new location to compensate for the expansion and being very diligent about marketing on social media. Visit @bittersweetwaco on Instagram to stay connected with the bakery and place orders.

Lariat TV News Today, academic calendar changes, lost dog makes a miraculous return home and acrobatics & tumbling feature

On Lariat TV News Today, we will take a look at how the Baylor community is picking up the pieces after the historic winter storm last week.

We will share about one Baylor students’ home whose ceiling caved in because of the harsh winter storm. We talked to a Baylor professor of law who shares what you need to know as a renter if your home was impacted.

We also have a touching story about how a dog went missing for three years and then reunited with his owners by mere chance.

In sports, we take an inside look at the acrobatics and tumbling team, and how they made it to the top of their sport.

To get a behind the scenes look at our reporter’s coverage head to our Instagram @BaylorLTVN.

What to do in Waco: Feb. 26 – March 17

By Ava Dunwoody | Arts & Life Editor

Waco Trade Days | Feb. 26 – 27 | 9:30 a.m. | Savage Finds, 1509 Austin Ave | Free | On the last weekend of every month, Waco Trade Days opens its doors to a vendor flea market that has been featured on the Travel Channel and other media outlets.

Waco Downtown Farmers Market | Feb. 27 | 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. | 500 Washington Ave. | Free | Variety of vendors featuring local agricultural producers and artisan vendors

Sundown Sessions: Soap Making | Feb. 27 | 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. | SUB Barfield Drawing Room | Free | Tired of washing your hands with boring soap? Join the Union Board and make your very own soap in the scent, color and shape of your choice.

Topgolf Live | Feb. 27 | 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. | McLane Stadium | $35 with student discount | Play Topgolf from the inside of McLane Stadium and enjoy exclusive games and food. Book your tee time here.

2021 Pruit Memorial Symposium | March 2 and 9 | 3:30 p.m. | Zoom | Free | Hear from distinguished speakers about Black Gospel Music Tradition in the 9th annual Pruit Memorial Symposium, “Lord, Don’t Move the Mountain! Women’s Voices in Gospel Songs and Hymns.” Earn Creative Arts Experience (CAE) credit by attending too. Click here for more info.

Register for Light Up the Dark 5k | March 17 | 5 – 10 p.m. | Cameron Park Zoo | $35 | Join Unbound in their annual 5k race to fight human trafficking. There will be a 5k walk or run, kids 1K, food trucks, interactive animal experiences and virtual options. Register at runsignup.com/lightupthedark5k.

Returning to normal includes cheap political trickery, it seems

Summer Merkle | Cartoonist

$2,000 stimulus checks — that is what the public was promised.

In the COVID-19 relief plan published leading up to his entry into office, President Joe Biden promised to provide families financially struggling from the pandemic with a stimulus check totaling $2,000.

“$600 is simply not enough when you have to choose between paying rent and putting food on the table,” Biden tweeted on January 10. “We need $2,000 stimulus checks.”

His initial words are now being twisted to say that the intended meaning was a $1,400 check in addition to the last $600 previously distributed.

In April 2020, the unemployment rate reached its highest peak seen in over 70 years, hitting 14.8%. The hospitality unemployment rate at that same time hit 39.3%. Part-time employees endured cuts at twice the percentage of their full-time coworkers.

Black and Hispanic workers experienced significantly larger cuts than White and non-Hispanic coworkers — these observations statistically continued throughout the entire year.

Families are struggling. The President himself acknowledged that fact.

Minority families are financially struggling at a disproportionate level compared to White citizens.

The reality is, $2,000 is already not enough. To take $600 off of that promised total is cruel.

Families living in poverty are not children who lack the understanding of what is considered a significant amount of money. It is extremely disrespectful to assume that perspective of thinking.

These families need to pay rent, buy food and purchase hygiene and cleaning products for their households. They require internet, cell service and a computer to seek and gain new employment after a layoff. They deserve access to healthcare and the medications that they need so that they are able to work and provide for their families.

In the final days of the Senate campaigns, Biden spoke in Georgia, rallying support for the two Democratic candidates with a promise of $2,000 checks.

“Their election will put an end to the block in Washington — that $2,000 stimulus check — that money would go out the door immediately, to help people who are in real trouble,” Biden said. “Think about what it will mean to your lives — putting food on the table, paying rent.”

Looking back on the primaries, Biden said it was time to return to normalcy following the Trump presidency. Unfortunately, he is sticking to his word by pulling this switch based on a technicality of words.

Previous administrations have functioned on the basis of lies and deception. If this relief plan is any foreshadowing of what the future of his term holds, we may be returning to the normalcy he originally spoke of.

Using a stimulus check to sway a state with a large percentage of minority voters, and then not follow through, is disingenuous and disappointing.

To see this level of deception and trickery taking place so early in the presidency is disheartening. Citizens financially struggling from this global crisis deserve the support they require to stay alive. They deserve the respect of not being lied to about what their financial situation will be. Our government should have enough respect for its citizens to stick to its word in a time of such immeasurable loss.

Don’t let skinny jeans die

By Mallory Harris | Staff Writer

Sorry to burst your bubble, but I actually like skinny jeans and don’t plan on throwing mine out anytime soon. Generation Z is slowly taking over the world of social media and is proud to voice their opinion, whether it be popular or not. Their latest challenge has been convincing the world that skinny jeans with their tightness and stretch all around are out, and the baggier, tight-waist and loose ankle look is in.

If I’m being honest, I’m considered to be an older member of Gen Z by a mere four years. While I don’t hate the notion that the term brings, let me share with you that I’ve had to memorize a home phone number, I’ve owned an iPod shuffle and I know what the acronym DCOM stands for (Disney Channel Original Movie). I say this because growing up, skinny jeans were a beacon of light shining down for people who didn’t have a clue about clothes.

Starting around the 1970s with rock bands tearing their clothes to pieces, dying out, then coming back in the 2000s the skinny jean has a rough history. From The Guardian, the chief executive of Levi’s, Chip Bergh, mentioned he did not “think skinny jeans are ever going away on the women’s side of the business.” However, Bergh is also aware of the looser style in fashion becoming more prominent in recent times. As denim is still considered a new material to work with, the varying styles of jeans are something worthy to note.

From the first stitch, skinny jeans have been a symbol to many groups of people. There have been the rock stars, the “emos,” the Paris Hiltons and many more who found their look in a tight pair of jeans. Becoming a staple after hitting the runways in 2005, people were looking to flatter their bodies in tight clothes. More specifically, with skinny jeans, an Aeropostale t-shirt with the tank top sticking out from the bottom and Toms, for those at the middle school dance.

While remaining an iconic look, skinny jeans have been able to grow with their consumers throughout their life. The magic behind skinny jeans is the stretch. Don’t get me wrong, the differing shades of blue are fascinating, but they don’t hold a match to sliding on a pair of pants that fit just right. With that stretch, not only can jeans last a while, but they can also be worn by many people of different sizes and shapes, which is very important in this day and age.

Now, I understand times have changed, and people are looking for a more relaxed fit, but don’t ditch the skinny look just yet. In looking at the future of retail, Business Insider claims that Gen Z will become one the most pivotal generations with huge spending power. Not only being tech-savvy and mobile-friendly, but Gen Z also has high standards for how they spend their time online, for example, online shopping, according to the article.

Skinny jeans, mom jeans, bootcut jeans, flare jeans, boyfriend jeans, straight jeans… the list goes on and on, and as that list continues, fashion has remained cyclical and almost promises that each trend that dies will come back at some point. As much as I despise the low-rise and loose-ankle, I’ll hold onto my skinny jeans until I die, even if you call me unpopular, or, dare I say, old.

Bring back Tejano dance halls

By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor

I know we all have things we miss from the pre-pandemic days and things we hope to do when it finally ends, and for me, one of those things is dancing. But not just any kind of dancing. I’m talking Latin/Hispanic dancing. I’m talking cumbia, quebradita, duranguense, salsa, merengue, bachata, etc. I’m talking Tejano music.

Central Texas is a lot more diverse than it gets credit for and I really wish it was easier to explore that diversity, particularly when it comes to cultural activities such as dancing. Everyone loves a good Honky Tonk and Texas two-step, but Melody Ranch can’t be the only immediate option (not that I have anything against Melody Ranch).

What I’m trying to say is that there should be more immediate options for Tejano and Latin music to be enjoyed. I know there was a place downtown that offered a Latin night, but considering I can’t even remember the name of the establishment, it obviously wasn’t enough.

Tejano culture was born before Texas was even a state, and the music and dancing are a direct reflection of its history in the region. Tejano culture is a border culture, a combination of Mexican, Anglo-American and Indigenous, influenced by German and Czech immigrants in the mid-19th century. It transcends a single label or definition.

Tejano music and dance halls in particular are a great example of the diversity and “cosmicness” of the Hispanic/Latin community. The music is a melting pot of different styles: Columbian cumbia, Cubano boleros, Texas country and German accordion polka. Dance halls are the table where its served. A place to gather as a community and indulge in togetherness when we so often feel like outsiders, no matter where we go.

But Tejano culture is uniquely American. It’s non-homogenous in the same way that America is non-homogenous.

You see, my beef isn’t necessarily with the lack of dance halls in the region but with the lack of authentic spaces in which Tejano culture is allowed to thrive. Because it is thriving. Obviously, it’s more prevalent down south, in the Valley and in big cities with a larger Hispanic presence like Houston and San Antonio. However, I still feel like there is a strong enough presence of Hispanics in Central Texas to have more spaces for our culture to continue to thrive.

And maybe I’m not looking hard enough for those spaces. Maybe I just need to keep looking for them. All I know is when the pandemic ends, the first thing I’m going to do is bailar.

Bears head to indoor conference championship determined for victory

Junior sprinter Matthew Moorer runs the 4x400-meter relay at the Texas Tech Invitational at the end of January. The Bears will head back to Lubbock this weekend to compete for a conference title. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Marquis Cooley | Reporter

Baylor’s indoor track and field team will be returning to Lubbock for the fourth time this season to compete at Texas Tech’s Sports Performance Center for the 2021 Big 12 Indoor Championship Friday and Saturday.

The road leading up to this weekend has not been easy for the Bears. Head coach Todd Harbour said the winter storm that hit Texas last week just added on to what has already been a “surreal” season.

“Getting ready for the Big 12 Championships and you get a winter storm in Texas,” Harbour said. “I had four wheel drive, so I’m shuttling athletes. I’m getting them up here to the indoor when, you know, it’s not even safe to drive, but I know we’ve got to get some work in.”

Despite the setback, the team is excited for the meet. Sophomore sprinter Arria Minor, who transferred from the University of Georgia, is looking forward to her first Big 12 Championship meet.

“I’ve been excited all season to compete for a new school, and it’s my first Big 12 as well,” Minor said. “So I’m excited to see how it’s gonna go and just being with this new team in a new atmosphere. I’m pretty pumped up.”

With the excitement comes high expectations. Junior 400-meter runner Matthew Moorer said he has high hopes not only for himself but also the members of the 4×400 meter.

“My hopes and my expectations is that we win Big 12, and we lay down a fast enough time to get in the top heat for nationals,” Moorer said. “That’s what I expect, and I know we’re capable of it. We just all got to go out there and do what we need to do.”

Coming into the Big 12 Championship, the Baylor women’s team is ranked No. 15 in the USTFCCCA National Track & Field Rating Index (third among Big 12 schools), while the men’s team is rated seventh among schools in the conference.

Baylor has 19 women and 11 men ranked in the Big 12 top eight, which would be scoring marks at the conference meet. Pole vaulters junior KC Lightfoot and senior Tuesdi Tidwell as well as senior sprinter Aaliyah Miller all rank No.1 in the Big 12 this season. But even with those rankings, Harbour said the team has no margin for error. However, he knows his team is hungry.

“They don’t want me to tell them they can’t win the championship,” Harbour said. “I like the fact that I can’t tell them that right now. We’re not the favorite, but they want to believe.”

Women’s tennis defeat Tyler JC in exhibition

Women's tennis lead a sic'em at the beginning of their match against Nebraska in February 2020. Lariat File Photo

By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor

No. 15 women’s tennis defeated Tyler Junior College 6-1 in an exhibition match Thursday afternoon. The Bears were led once again by junior Livia Krauss, who remains undefeated on the singles court this season.

“I’m really proud of the team,” head coach Joey Scrivano told Baylor Athletics. “The ladies came out with great focus, really good intensity. Tyler has a great team. If they weren’t a junior college, they’d be a Top-40 team in college tennis. They have a lot of good players and talent, and they pushed us today.”

The Apache tested Baylor early, defeating senior Jessica Hinojosa and freshman Sara Ziodato 6-2 on court one to start doubles play. Krauss and sophomore Paula Barañano evened things out with a 6-3 win on court three before freshman Audrey Boch-Collins and junior Kris Sorokolet notched the doubles point for the Bears with a 6-2 win on court two.

Barañano made quick work of her opponent on court five, giving Baylor its second point with a 6-1, 6-1 victory. Sorokolet followed with a 6-2, 6-0 win on court six. Krauss then clinched the match for the Bears with a 6-0, 6-0 sweep on court four.

The rest of the matches were played out as Boch-Collins picked up a 6-1, 6-1 win on court three. TJC took its only point of the day when Ziodato fell 6-4, 6-4 on court two. Hinojosa closed out the match with a 4-6, 7-5, (10-8) [6] victory on the top court.

Despite Ziodato’s loss to the Apache, Scrivano said that he’s seen significant development from the freshman.

“Sara has had the biggest transition of anybody on our team,” Scrivano said. “Coming from Italy mid-year, having to quarantine and so many adjustments for her. Credit to her, she is so resilient, so mentally tough. She’s just getting better and better, every practice, every match. We can see that she’s going to be an impact player for us, especially down the road, and in the second half of the season, she’s going to be someone that is going to make a really big difference for us.”

The Bears will have a week-long break, returning to the court at noon next Thursday to host TCU in a non-conference matchup.

Feb. 26-28 Baylor Athletics schedule

Here's an update on what Baylor Athletics events will look like this upcoming weekend. Kristen DeHaven | Photo Editor

The snow has thawed, and spring sports are in full gear, joined by soccer and volleyball in the opening of their unprecedented spring seasons. Here’s an update on what’s happening in Baylor Athletics this weekend.

Equestrian

Due to Big 12 interruption guidelines, Baylor equestrian has postponed its meets against Oklahoma State and TCU this weekend and will look to schedule them at a later date. The Bears were set to host the Cowgirls today before traveling up to face the Horned Frogs Saturday.

Track and Field

Baylor track and field will be competing for a Big 12 indoor title in Lubbock today and Saturday. Senior sprinter Aaliyah Miller and pole vaulters junior KC Lightfoot and senior Tuesdi Tidwell hold the top spots in the conference and will look to bring some hardware home along with the rest of the team.

Softball

The 21st-ranked Lady Bears, coming off an epic 6-1 win over UT Arlington Wednesday, will host the inaugural Lone Star State Classic at Getterman Stadium this weekend. Opponents will rotate sites between Baylor, Texas and Texas State in this first year of the tournament. Baylor will open at 3:30 p.m. today against UConn, followed by a 6 p.m. matchup versus Ole Miss.

The Lady Bears will face Lamar at 2:30 p.m. Saturday before taking on the Huskies again at 5 p.m. Baylor will close out the weekend with its second-ranked matchup in as many weeks, playing No. 25 Mississippi State at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Baseball

Baylor baseball will be back on its regular schedule, heading down to Dell Diamond, home of the Round Rock Express, for the Round Rock Classic. The Bears will open the tournament against Texas A&M at 6 p.m., looking to bounce back from a loss to the Aggies in the 2019 Shriner’s Classic. Third-year sophomore righty Blake Helton will have the mound for the Bears as the Friday starter.

Baylor will take on Auburn at noon Saturday with fourth-year junior lefty Tyler Thomas, who had the longest outing of his career last Sunday against UTRGV, as the starter. The Bears will close out the Round Rock Classic against a familiar opponent in Oklahoma at 5 p.m. Sunday. The starters for the matchup are yet to be announced.

Volleyball

The sixth-ranked Baylor volleyball team will return to the court after a three-month hiatus. The Lady Bears finished 13-3 in the fall after playing a conference-only slate. Baylor will open the spring at 6 p.m. tonight against North Texas in the Ferrell Center and will face Pepperdine at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Soccer

After finishing the fall at an even 3-3-3 during the conference only fall schedule, Baylor soccer will be back in action versus Texas A&M at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Women’s Basketball

One win away from their 11th-consecutive Big 12 regular season title, the seventh-ranked Lady Bears will host Kansas State at 11 a.m. Saturday. Coming off a 21-point win over Oklahoma State, Baylor has four games remaining in its schedule before heading to the Big 12 tournament.

Men’s Basketball

No. 2 men’s basketball will head back up to Lawrence, Kan., to finish the season series against the Jayhawks. Coming off a five-point win over Iowa State in their return to play, the Bears were set to face West Virginia at home Thursday, but once again had to cancel as the conference wanted both teams to avoid playing three games within the same week. Baylor is looking to notch it’s second consecutive win at Allen Fieldhouse after upsetting the Jayhawks 67-55 on Jan. 11, 2020.

Check in to the Baylor Lariat for coverage all weekend and follow the sports desk on Twitter @BULariatSports.

Students interact virtually with future employers at spring career fair

The biannual career fair, which connects Baylor students with potential employers, was held in an online platform this year. The event took place on February 24. Photo courtesy of the Baylor Career Center

By Clara Lincicome | Reporter

The Baylor University Career Center hosted their biannual career fair Wednesday, Feb. 24. The campus-wide event was made up of “multiple locations and employers connecting with all majors and fields of study.”

This semester, the career fair opted for a virtual format in order to comply with Baylor’s COVID-19 guidelines, and students were offered the opportunity to engage in one-on-one or group online sessions with various potential employers.

San Antonio sophomore Emma Killeen attended four group sessions Wednesday for her first experience with the career fair, one of which was for a personal “dream company” that she said she hopes to work for after graduation.

“The career fair is an opportunity for students to meet with companies and get a little bit more information about what a company is about and if they are hiring, internship opportunities and just to get their name out there to certain companies they’re interested in,” Killeen said.

Littleton, Colo., sophomore Haley West attended the virtual career fair as a requirement for her career development class.

While she said she is not yet looking for a job, West went into the sessions feeling “exploratory,” looking to learn more about various types of businesses and potential employers.

West said she attended a group session with a non-profit and a property management company, and described the experience as “chill and laid back” in comparison to the in-person format.

While Killeen said she missed the in-person connection of a handshake and a face-to-face introduction, she said meeting with certain companies virtually was “really fascinating” and that she loved hearing about what they had to offer.

Killeen also emphasized that she thinks Baylor is going above and beyond to provide students with an abundance of resources in order to set students up for success.

“Baylor gives us a lot of resources. Right now I am taking a professional development class which is all about resumes, internships, interviews and setting me up for getting a job out of college,” Killeen said. “It’s a sweet opportunity to expand what it looks like to get a job, and to interview, and I think they do really well with that.”

Penland Dining Hall evacuated Wednesday due to sewage issue, not gas leak

Penland Dining Hall evacuated the building 30 minutes early Wednesday afternoon due to a sewage issue. Christina Cannady | Photographer

By Mallory Harris | Staff Writer

Baylor confirmed that a sewage issue forced the Penland Dining Hall to evacuate about 30 minutes early on Wednesday afternoon, disproving rumors that there was a gas leak after reports of workers yelling to turn off the grills and staffers urging students out the door.

Flower Mound freshman Johniel Najera was at Penland when the situation occurred grabbing lunch with his friends. At first when he heard workers being told to shut off the grills, Najera thought something was wrong with the food. Watching people get told to leave, Najera figured he could finish his meal first, but he was told to leave immediately because the building was being evacuated.

“We just saw workers start going crazy and started running around and then grabbing things and like telling people, ‘Hey you guys need to leave,’” Najera said. “It was kind of weird to see everyone leave immediately, but we didn’t really get any information.”

While leaving the building, Najera’s first thought to the situation was a possible gas leak since there were no fire alarms going off. However, quickly after leaving the building Najera didn’t stay to see if any firefighters or police came by.

“My first guess was maybe some sort of gas leak because if there was a fire the alarms would have gone off, but they didn’t,” Najera said. “And so, if there was like a gas leak, you wouldn’t have known instantly.”

Najera explained that the small number of students that were there seemed pretty calm about the situation. He also mentioned that the issue seemed to be resolved pretty quickly after being evacuated.

Lori Fogleman, assistant vice president of media and public relations, explained in an email that there was an issue with the sewer. Fogleman said Penland closed 30 minutes earlier than usual and that no fire or police were called to the scene.

“Dining closed Penland 30 minutes early to fix the issue and provided students who were at Penland with to-go containers,” Fogelman said. “Penland was back open at its regular time for dinner.”

Relief funds coming available for those still facing effects of Winter Storm Uri

Winter storm Uri wreaked havoc on utilities across Central Texas, including the Rosenbalm Memorial Fountain, which has yet to return to its normal state. Cole Tompkins | Photographer

By Vivian Roach | Staff Writer

Community recovery efforts have been in full force since last week when Winter Storm Uri wreaked havoc on businesses and residents. City staff, nonprofits and local residents have all pitched in to do their part.

As freezing temperatures caused water leaks and pipes to burst, any 300 people at a time had gone without water last week, Mayor Dillon Meek said.

“What we were able to do is get Coke-a-Cola and Bubba’s 33 to donate water and food, so that if people didn’t have access to water while those repairs were being made, they had that,” Meek said. “That was kind of an urgent need last week.”

Local businesses weren’t spared either. Footage of water damage and flooding at Magnolia Table and Spice Village was posted on Instagram. Meek said property damage is the primary problem right now, as water causes significant damage, not to mention electrical and plumbing problems.

“We’re trying to work through a coordinated effort to ensure that good, solid repairs are being made in our community in a strategic way,” Meek said.

Last Sunday, the Waco Foundation’s board donated a seed gift of $25,000 to launch the local Winter Storm Community Relief Fund. The relief fund is expecting additional funding from local donations.

For the most part, federal and state dollars and private insurers will help the community recover, Natalie Kelinske, director of communications and donor services said. However, the fund is reserved for those who need emergency assistance and don’t have access to those resources.

“The purpose of the fund is really twofold. So one is to help people who need access to kind of basic necessities like groceries, help paying for their electric bills, water, things like that,” Kelinske said. “And then the second piece is to provide home repairs to folks who have emergency repairs that they’re unable to pay for.”

Kelinske said as they complete need survey responses and requests, the relief fund will be distributed as they see fit to pre-selected nonprofit organizations already prepared to provide basic necessities or home repairs. One of the Foundation’s nonprofit partners, Caritas of Waco, provides food, clothing, household items and utility bill aid.

Some Texans have been reporting abnormally high electricity bills after the storm too. According to an NPR interview with Christopher Connelly, KERA News reporter in Ft Worth, he said this was because Texas has a deregulated market for electricity. This allows for variable rates and prices to go up when there is less electricity.

In an emergency open meeting last Sunday, the Public Utility Commission of Texas issued orders to protect citizens suffering from high electricity bills.

The Commission said in the order, “an immediate suspension of disconnections for non-payment until further notice, including ordering utilities not to process disconnections.”

Though Waco is not an electric provider, and has no authority over electricity, Meek said he has written to state-level leadership about reviewing this issue.

“We’re gonna continue to advocate on behalf of our citizens here, and we’ll definitely monitor this,” Meek said.

Kelinske said there is a lot of involvement in relief efforts from nonprofits and city leadership.

“The great thing about our community is the nonprofit network works very well together, and city leadership is super involved.” Kelinske said.

Through social media, nonprofits and their clients, they are getting the word out about this resource, she said. The city staff is also working to address people’s needs by finding them available resources. Since last Sunday night, donations have been steadily coming in, all hours of the day, Kelinske said.

“It’s really evident that the city — the community members — see the need for this,” she said. “And folks who weren’t as heavily impacted are really stepping up and giving to help those who were.”

Now, Meek said, it’s most important that these charitable dollars aren’t wasted, and the foundation will ensure that.

“The reason why I’m excited for Waco Foundation to set up this fund is because a foundation like this is organized to make sure that dollars are distributed to places where they will be used efficiently and effectively,” Meek said. “By Waco Foundation being in charge of these dollars, you know that they’re going to be well spent.”

Anyone who needs assistance is encouraged to fill out a Waco McLennan County Resource Request survey on the fund’s website and issues will be addressed.

Plans for in-person graduation ceremony bring excitement

By Annaleise Parsons | Staff Writer, Video by Grace Smith | Broadcast Reporter

Baylor University recently announced the decision to have an in-person graduation ceremony with COVID-19 restrictions in place similar to those practiced at football and basketball games this academic year.

The outdoor commencement ceremony is to take place at McLane Stadium May 6-8 for both 2020 and 2021 graduates since the university has not had an in-person commencement since December 2019.

While Baylor commencement has been hosted at the Ferrell Center in the past, the limited floor space at the arena does not allow for social distancing. Instead, McLane Stadium will be used, as it provides a large amount of space for both graduates and guests to attend ceremonies.

“We’ll be able to socially distance all of the graduates … 900 to 1,000 graduates on the field for a brief ceremony,” Jason Cook, vice president of marketing and communications, said. “Even if each graduate brings six guests, for example, that would still only be 6,000 guests in a 40,000-plus seat stadium.”

Cook encourages graduates to remain “patient and understanding” as Baylor plans an outdoor ceremony. He also advises seniors to watch for communications from Baylor in order to stay up to date with the latest COVID-19 protocols for commencement.

There is no limit on the number of guests that graduates can bring due to the ample space in McLane Stadium. Graduates from 2020 who are returning to walk the stage and their guests will not be required to be tested for the virus beforehand. However, 2021 graduates will already be tested due to the spring semester weekly testing for Baylor students.

“Commencement is a very important event,” Cook said. “It’s a signal of great accomplishment on the individual level and a significant opportunity to graduate from a university like Baylor.”

While the expected number of graduates hasn’t been determined yet, Baylor has received a large amount of interest and excitement about the event.

Bedford senior Madeline Pettit said she is excited to be able to graduate in a non-virtual setting given the uncertainty of the past year when it came to how events of all kinds would be held.

“I’m really excited that it’s in-person … and I’m very thankful for the work that they’re putting in to make it in-person,” Pettit said.

Graduates interested in participating in commencement should fill out the Commencement Participation form by February 26.

Student Spotlight: Jewelry business builds women up

Haidyn Chudy is currently running a popup stand out of Pretty in Pink Boutique where she is an intern. Cole Tompkins | Photographer

By Jenna Frisby | Social Media Editor

By following her passion, Lexington, Kent., sophomore Haidyn Chudy channels her entrepreneurial spirit with her jewelry company, Southern Belle Glitz.

Chudy strives to use her company platform for greater things to benefit women. She has been able to combine her love of fashion into a successful small business.

“With my company, I want to encourage women,” Chudy said. “I want to use fashion and my business as a platform to encourage other women and build them up. That’s why I do what I do.”

Dallas junior Susannah Turner said she appreciates Chudy’s strong female example in the way she approaches her business.

“It’s so refreshing to see a women-owned small business be so successful in this economy,” Turner said. “Haidyn works a secretary job, has positions in Zeta, has an internship and runs a business full-time. Her jewelry is so unique and definitely something you can’t find anywhere else.”

Competing in pageants her freshman year of high school sparked her interest in the jewelry business, Chudy said. She first went to Southern Belle Glitz as a customer and worked under the owner until her junior year of high school. Originally, she planned to franchise in high school before coming to college.

“For my birthday one year, my parents helped sow the seed, I raised up the money I had and I bought the company from her,” Chudy said. “Since August 2019, it has been fully mine.”

The business eventually led Chudy to switch majors.

“When I came to Baylor I was actually pre-law, but in between my junior and senior year of high school was when I bought my company, and that kind of changed my career path at Baylor,” Chudy said.

Chudy said bringing her business to Waco meant building brand awareness and making connections in Texas. She didn’t have a car freshman year, which made it difficult to get around. Luckily, the John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise OSO Launch program helped Chudy form connections and establish a network here.

Her business showcases three collections: boutique jewelry, a sorority collection and a pageant collection. Her most popular collection is the boutique jewelry, which according to Chudy, features trendy, everyday pieces.

Flower Mound senior Mikayla Anthony models for Chudy’s boutique and attests to the wide assortment of products and quality of the jewelry.

“I love Haidyn’s business because it has something for everyone,” Anthony said. “From her sorority collections to big statement pieces, she offers a range of items that pair well with everything. I have modeled for her company and have so much fun every time because there’s always something new.”

Chudy started doing pop-up shops around Waco before establishing a storefront in Pretty in Pink Flamingo boutique. She said she admires the owner, fellow local entrepreneur Savannah May.

“She has been such a blessing opening up her store to me,” Chudy said. “She lets me have my boutique set up in the space. Without her, that is an achievement I would never have been able to do.”

With all of the hardships COVID-19 brought, Chudy said she was determined to make the best of it. Despite delayed shipments from merchants and shipping times to customers, she worked to build other aspects of the business.

“Over the first part of Covid, I launched my sorority collection, so I really got to pour into that,” Chudy said. “Since then, I’ve been able to make connections and I’ve been able to establish a place here.”

She one day aspires to own her own clothing store with Southern Belle Glitz as well. Her mission remains to spread female empowerment in each piece she sells.

Business fraternity recruits new member class during pandemic

Alpha Kappa Psi, the oldest and largest national business fraternity aims to help students develop professionally and connect them with valuable business resources. Christina Cannady | Photographer

By Clara Lincicome | Staff Writer

Alpha Kappa Psi (AKPsi) is a coed national business fraternity on Baylor’s campus that currently consists of around 50 members, with 15 in the current new member class.

AKPsi has a strong legacy at Baylor, founded over 60 years ago. It’s the oldest and largest business fraternity in the nation, with a large network of business professional alumna.

“While you’re here at Baylor, we help each other throughout the college experience professionally, educationally and socially,” San Diego sophomore Jason Nacario, the AKPsi vice president of administration said. “And post-grad, that network is huge.”

Nacario said the opportunities for growth as a member are plentiful. Aside from weekly chapter meetings, there are monthly events intended for professional development. These include resume workshops, professional speakers, mock interviews and workshops.

Denton sophomore Skyla Seay emphasized that despite being a business fraternity, all majors are welcome to go through the recruitment process.

“All of the skills we learn are good for any major,” Seay said. “We like to welcome anybody and everybody, but as a fraternity, spots are limited, and competition is tough. We look for the most well-rounded students.”

AKPsi has welcomed two new member classes since the beginning of the pandemic.

Seay served as recruitment chair for the past two semesters, has had to adapt to an online recruitment format amid COVID-19. This included speed networking events over Zoom, virtual game nights to get to know current members and the hope that potential members were able to get a feel for what it means to be an active member.

The member classes since COVID-19 have ranged from 13 to 15 students. The efforts were rewarded, Seay said, as the online recruitment process consisted of more people than expected.

“We have been so proud and have had to get our name across campus louder than ever,” Seay said. “We have mainly had to recruit through social media.”

Hosting Instagram Live information sessions proved to be an effective preview of the chapter for prospective members.

The recruitment process consists of prospective members attending four events and two interviews. Once selected to be a member of the chapter, the new member class goes through a five-week training process, learning what it means to be an Alpha Kappa Psi.

“[They] will be learning about the history of our fraternity, our core values, our mission statement and what we hope our pledges get out of our fraternity,” Nacario said. “Our core values are brotherhood, unity, service, integrity and knowledge. We really try to emphasize what each of those mean to us.”

As for their mission, Nacario said that they aim to shape the best professionals they can.

“We’re really big on professional development and getting to develop those professional aspects, whether that be working in a group, interviewing or resume,” Nacario said.

In addition to professional development, members also experience a strong sense of community in the fraternity. AKPsi holds two service events each semester in order to maintain involvement in the Baylor and Waco community. They also hold their own take-a-dates, formals and weekly dinners following chapter meetings at Shorty’s Pizza Shack.

Nacario said that his favorite part of being a member is the brotherhood.

“We are all extremely close friends and have been able to maintain that small group feeling even as we grow,” Nacario said. “Those are my best friends.”

Alpha Kappa Psi takes a new member class every fall and spring semester. You can find Baylor’s chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi on Instagram @baylorakpsi.

Double masking not being considered as requirement on campus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending double masking to increase COVID-19 prevention. Baylor is not requiring double masking at this time. Hyundo Song | Photo intern

By Emily Cousins | Staff Writer

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended double masking to enhance mask performance. Baylor is not considering requiring double masking as this time.

To test the effectiveness of double masking, the CDC conducted experiments to understand which masks were most effective to block simulated cough aerosols.

“The effectiveness of the following mask configurations to block these aerosols was assessed: a three-ply medical procedure mask alone, a three-ply cloth cotton mask alone, and the three-ply cloth mask covering the three-ply medical procedure mask (double masking),” the CDC said in the report.

The CDC found that double masking blocked around 85% of the cough particles, whereas both single masks blocked around 50% of the aerosols.

Medical Director at Baylor Dr. Sharon Stern said double masking is not being considered as a requirement on campus, but that it’s worth doing as a personal choice to remain safer when around groups of people.

“The second mask serves to help prevent the spread of infectious particles by adding another layer of protection,” Stern said. “Most cloth masks are made with two layers of fabric, each woven in a different direction. That helps make the ‘holes’ smaller and less numerous but the holes are still there. Having a surgical mask next to your face with a cloth mask over it adds another level of protection and is helpful in not spreading or contracting infectious illnesses.”

Jason Cook, vice president for marketing and communications, said even though double masking is not being considered as an added protocol, Baylor is aware that “masking is a critical element in stopping the spread of the virus.”

“We need everyone on campus to continue to wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth, especially when you are indoors around others, and follow other health and safety precautions like distancing and washing your hands so we can stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep everyone healthy,” Cook said.

According to the CDC, variants of COVID-19 are spreading, some with more rapid transmission.

“​Because double masking is helpful in preventing the spread of infectious viral particles, it would be even more important if we had an infection that is more contagious, such as the variants of SARS-CoV-2,” Stern said. “Because this infection is spread in an airborne method from the respiratory tract, it is important to keep our nose and mouth covered to prevent spread.”

Women’s World Day of Prayer aimed to bring unity during time of distance

Women's world day of prayer is an annual event to remind attendees of the importance of hope and unity during a time of distance from others. Screenshot from convention

By Mary Watson Vergnolle | Reporter

A virtual session of Women’s World Day of Prayer, took place virtually earlier this month and featured guest speakers, devotionals and worship to welcome women from Baylor, Texas and beyond.

The theme this year, “Life! Standing Together Unified in Hope,” sought to connect women through prayer on Friday, Feb. 12.

Patty Lane, the newly retired director of intercultural ministries for Texas Baptists and keynote speaker at the event, said her presentation focused on the meaning of hope and unity.

“A lot of Baptist associations around the world celebrate a Women’s World Day of Prayer and it is traditionally in November. This is something that is celebrated worldwide and is sponsored by the Baptist World Alliance Women’s Department,” Lane said. “My keynote address tried to focus on the words ‘hope’ and ‘together.’ I wanted believers to recognize that our hope is in God. It is in God, not our ability, that our hope is anchored.”

Hope, the overall theme of this year’s event, was seen as an important topic choice, especially during a time as unprecedented as this. Evelyn Ofong, a third-year theology student and an attendee of the event, says the history of Women’s World Day of Prayer is very similar to the struggles many women face today in their faith.

“The Women’s World Day of Prayer [event] was started by European women after World War II. We can replay that in terms of the war we now face with the pandemic. We have all been touched with death and illness and fear and the same kinds of things that bothered them then, we can find now — the feeling of being out of control,” Ofong said. “We know as they did that there is someone to whom we can turn, and that person is God. Just knowing that God is forever faithful and constant brings comfort.”

Over its nearly 70-year history, Women’s World Day of Prayer seeks to unite women in their faith and create a network of fellowship and prayer. Lane said she hopes that the event inspired women to lead a more faithful lifestyle.

“Just that people leave [the event] having a stronger faith and hope in God and that people can know that even if they feel discouraged or overwhelmed, that our hope in God can be consistent because it isn’t about how we feel but about who God is. That is such a liberating thought because He is always consistent,” Lane said.

Ofong said she feels as though the event could not have come at a better time.

“It was edifying to see diverse women coming together in prayer — women who represented different ethnic, geographic, socioeconomic and age groups,” Ofong said. “Praying during the pandemic was especially powerful. As women prayed for regions and parts of the world, the different accents and expressions of prayer reminded me of how different this world is; however, God is the same Father of all.”

Ofong said she hopes to see the effect of prayer at the event continue to impact and inspire women during this time, as well as beyond.

“How can it not inspire you?” Ofong said. “I think it has added to the network of women. They now know that they are not alone and that they can reach out to each other even after the event. I hope it doesn’t just stop with this one day, but that relationships will continue.”

Standardize the Oxford comma

By George Schroeder | LTVN Reporter/Anchor

I have used the Oxford comma all my life and throughout my education, but something strange happened when I came to Baylor University. I found out that not everyone uses this perfect grammatical device.

Let me start by explaining what the Oxford comma is. Essentially, when listing nouns in a sentence, the Oxford comma separates the second-to-last noun from the “and” before the last item on the list.

Since becoming a journalism major, I have found out that journalists do not use the Oxford comma. Listen, I have read a newspaper before, and I read articles all the time. I have just never taken notice that the comma wasn’t there.

Proper academic format requires the Oxford comma. Why can’t journalism do the same? I don’t want to say that the journalists have it wrong, but the journalists have it wrong.

When making lists in an article, it just feels wrong to me not to put a comma before the “and.” I like dogs, cats and fish. Read that last sentence again and tell me that doesn’t just feel wrong on the inside. “I like dogs, cats, and fish.” Now that’s a healthy sentence.

Standardizing the Oxford comma across all forms of writing just makes sense. Besides the fact that I grew up with it and the world should revolve around me, not having to think about when I should and shouldn’t use a comma in that situation would lower my stress and anxiety levels. It wouldn’t lower them much, but they would be lower.

Listen, maybe you aren’t a fan of the Oxford comma, but to me, that’s like saying you aren’t a fan of being able to taste good food. The Oxford comma is tasteful, and if you don’t like the taste, clearly your palate must not be as superior as my Gordon Ramsay-level palate.

Moral of the of the story: the Oxford comma is the optimal choice for writing. Every time you read one of my articles and you see no comma before the “and” in a list, think of the poor little Oxford comma who lost their job to the journalist, and know that I am on its side.

Framing stories is a fair and balancing act

Summer Merkle | Cartoonist

To quote Jonathan Foster, a former lecturer at the University of Sheffield’s department of journalism, “If someone says it’s raining and another person says it’s dry, it’s not your job to quote them both. Your job is to look out the f***ing window and find out which is true.”

Every story has at least two sides, but not every side of a story is equally valid. In pursuit of the truth, journalists must have the clarity to know which sides of an issue are not supported by facts and have the integrity to report on them as such.

Take, for instance, the issue of climate change. Scientists are in near-universal consensus on the core aspects of it; namely it is caused by human activity, is continuing to get worse and needs to be tackled head-on before it causes irreparable damage to our planet. Climate change is also a stalwart of cable news debate topics. Networks often give equal time to a scientist backed up by decades of research and an opposing political operative pushing an agenda.

Framing the issue this way doesn’t just obscure the truth, it legitimizes ideas with no basis in fact. Reducing issues of fact to a two-sided debate gives the false impression both sides have equally-legitimate views. “Fair and balanced” journalism isn’t just about fostering discussion on contentious issues, it’s also about knowing when the facts show a disagreement is settled and continued debate is unproductive.

The same applies to ideologies like white supremacism. Feigning neutrality between justice and injustice serves no productive purpose, it only legitimizes hateful views and gives them a platform.

While facts must reign supreme in news coverage, the real world doesn’t fact check itself. Nonfactual statements range from benign to malicious. Good journalists — and good consumers of news — need to know the distinction between opinions, inaccuracies and falsehoods. All three need to be treated differently to prevent mistakes from slipping through the cracks and to prevent bad actors from taking advantage of the system.

Opinions are just that: opinions. If someone from Texas says it’s cold outside and someone from North Dakota disagrees, neither is more right than the other. Opinions can’t be presented as fact and can’t be debunked, they’re just a measure of what a person thinks. Opinions can be harmful when they contain hateful rhetoric like racism or homophobia, and journalists need to be careful not to amplify these messages.

Statements that don’t line up with objective facts are inaccuracies. Someone might have misspoken, misremembered or just not have been knowledgeable on a topic. Inaccuracies should always be clearly corrected in reporting, but assuming malicious intent probably isn’t the best course of action.

Falsehoods are inaccuracies with intent. Lies. Someone knowing, or just not caring, what they say doesn’t line up with objective reality. Intent can be hard to determine, but if someone is trying to push a specific agenda or is in a position where they should know better, that’s a red flag. It is not a journalist’s job to provide a platform for someone to spread misinformation.

Falsehoods present a problem with public figures, especially politicians. Lying is newsworthy, but repeating the falsehood grants it some legitimacy. Providing context and evidence to disprove the lie must be the highest priority.

Failing to effectively do this has very real consequences. In the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump and his lie-riddled rhetoric rode a $5 billion wave of free media exposure straight to the White House.

Journalism at its core is about pursuing and sharing the truth, but framing every issue as a battle of two equal sides erodes this purpose. Journalism today must have the moral clarity to know when to let discourse play out and when the facts say enough is enough.

#FreeBritney

By Sarah Gill | LTVN News Director

You might’ve heard of the #FreeBritney movement, but what’s it all about? A recent documentary on Hulu produced by the New York Times explores Britney Spears’ childhood, rise to fame, criticism in the spotlight and the mystery surrounding her current situation.

Britney Spears is known for being a pop sensation with hits such as “Oops!… I Did It Again,” “Baby One More Time” and “Toxic.” However, she is also known for her mental breakdowns, most famously when she shaved her head and smashed a paparazzo’s car with an umbrella.

People tend to dwell on the negatives. The documentary investigates Britney’s downfall and attempts to explain why she did what she did. Videos are shown of paparazzi swarming her car, screaming at her. Britney was a mother having her every move followed and surrounded by photographers. It could be argued that anyone would’ve gone crazy with this treatment.

Unfortunately, it seems like the constant camera flashes are what led to Britney’s darkest moments.

Britney shaved all the hair off her head essentially saying that she quit; she wanted the paparazzi to stop.

Many fans proclaim that Britney Spears is the first celebrity to bring mental health to the public eye. When she had her very public mental breakdown, all people could see was a crazy person. Nowadays, people would understand there is far more to the story than a woman shaving her head.

Britney landed in a mental hospital shortly after. Her father, Jamie Spears, filed and was approved to be her temporary conservator. This conservatorship was made permanent in 2008. Jamie and a lawyer were put in charge of every aspect of Britney’s finances and her personal life. The lawyer stepped down in 2019 leaving Jamie to be the sole conservator.

A conservatorship is usually for elderly people or people with dementia, which is why everyone is so shocked Britney Spears, a young, successful multi-millionaire is under one.

She hasn’t had control of her life for the past 13 years.

This means that while she released her latest four albums, went on tour and had a residency in Las Vegas, her father had the ultimate say in these career decisions. And he also was taking a chunk of the profit. He makes $130,000 a year as a conservator and was approved to take 1.5% of the profit from Spears’ Las Vegas residency.

If she was at risk constantly, under a conservatorship due to a mental illness, how and why was she able to keep performing? If she’s fit to work, why is every aspect of her personal life and financial life micromanaged? This is why people are arguing to FREE BRITNEY.

No one knows what Britney Spears’ mental health actually looks like. Perhaps her conservatorship is justified. Most people think otherwise; seeing her recent social media posts as coded messages crying for help.

The documentary explains how Britney Spears’ father was not very involved with her career until she had these mental breakdowns. Her mother was the one who truly supported her and wanted her to succeed. Kim Kaiman, senior marketing director for Jive Records during Britney Spears’ rise to fame, said in the documentary, “The only thing Jamie ever said to me was, ‘My daughter’s gonna be so rich, she’s gonna buy me a boat.'”

This quote is nothing less than unsettling. It makes it seems like right when Britney Spears was at her lowest, her dad came in and took advantage of it.

The most recent developments in the conservatorship case is that Britney’s father is no longer in charge of her “person,” just the estate. He stepped down from managing her personal life in September 2019 due to his personal health condition.

Britney’s longtime caretaker Jodi Montgomery manages Britney’s personal life, controlling her visitors and having access to all of Britney’s medical records. Her father has remained in control of her finances.

Britney has repeatedly voiced her opinion and desire through her lawyers, stating that she wants her father completely removed from the conservatorship.

As of this month, the court has granted a portion of Britney’s wish as Bessemer Trust Co. was given equal power with her father to manage Britney’s finances. This means that the private banking company and Britney’s dad must work together.

The #FreeBritney movement isn’t over though. Britney still wants her father completely removed and is refusing to work until he is out.

The next hearing is set for March 17.

In the meantime, check out Britney Spears’ Instagram and see if you, too, see the cryptic messages as her cry for help.

Is it Matthew Mayer time yet? Growth, maturity propel the junior during Baylor’s stellar season

Baylor guard Matthew Mayer, left, maintains his balance while being defended by Iowa State guard Rasir Bolton in the second half of Baylor's 77-72 win Tuesday. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald, Pool) Courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer

Six-foot-9, lanky and complete with a mullet and mustache, junior wing Matthew Mayer is impossible to miss on the basketball court. Add the fact that he has seemingly endless confidence with the ball and is deceptively athletic, capable of slamming the ball down like Lebron James, and the Austin native is one of the most unique and memorable players on the Baylor men’s basketball team.

But highlight dunks and a flashy playing style alone don’t get you to the NBA, and it certainly doesn’t get you a lot of minutes on a Scott Drew-coached team. Mayer learned this the hard way over his first two seasons at Baylor, where he only averaged 11 minutes per game and never started.

While Mayer hasn’t lacked confidence during his time in Waco, he did lack the necessary work-ethic at first to be a major contributor for the Bears, according to head coach Scott Drew. Mayer himself admitted he wasn’t always the most coachable player, resistant to changing his game.

“The thing is that when he first got here, he would always be there for open gym, but the other part maybe not as much,” Drew said.

But every player goes through this at one point or another in their career. Even senior forward and team leader Mark Vital was “immature” early in his career.

“I’ve been in your position,” Vital would tell Mayer. “I was immature at one point. I was doing some different stuff.”

Mayer began to focus less on playing aggressive and flashy and turned his focus more on playing efficiently this season. The junior is consistent in crediting his coaches with helping him find what is most efficient for his unique skill set.

“I’ve been working a lot with a lot of our managers shooting, and I’ve been doing post-ups recently, really taking some of my pride out of it and listening to what my coaches have to say,” Mayer said. “They’re not going out trying to make me not be aggressive. They just want me to be aggressive at the right times, so just understanding that has helped me a lot.”

The fruits of Mayer’s changed mindset this season have already begun to show as well. Mayer’s player efficiency rating has skyrocketed this year, jumping from an average of 17.6 his sophomore season to 27.7, good enough to be 37th best in the nation. While he still has yet to start a game for the Bears, it’s clear to everyone watching that Drew has begun to place more trust in Mayer.

“Matt is one of those guys, very talented when he came in and really improved a lot of areas that maybe you don’t see but then translates in the game,” Drew said. “I think Matt’s really matured in his game. Because of that, his efficiency and his numbers are much better.”

Mayer’s mentality change hasn’t been the only reason for his success. Drew raved about how Mayer has changed nearly everything about his preparation before games to improve as a player.

“His practice habits are a lot better; he works a lot harder,” Drew said. “He’s doing a better job of taking care of his body in the weight room. Nutrition-wise, he’s better. Getting here early, staying later. A lot of maturity and growth, and he deserves a lot of that credit.”

Perhaps the biggest factor behind Mayer’s growth has been his increased willingness to be coached and be held accountable by his coaches. Mayer told the story in a recent press conference of how he left the gym before he finished all of his post-practice free throws. Mayer said when he returned to finish them, associate head coach Jerome Tang told Mayer to restart his free throws. Mayer’s reaction to the tough-love coaching shows how far he has come as a player and a person.

“I was really upset, but I didn’t say nothing to him. I just did it and then told him, ‘Thank you for keeping me accountable,’” Mayer said. “It sounds like a small story, but I think that was a moment for me because I’ve always had back and forth with my coaches. That’s not something I would’ve done, not even close to that.”

Through this growth, Mayer has surpassed his reputation as an inefficient player who occasionally produces a highlight reel dunk or play. He’s now a key cog in the team that has now achieved the best start in Baylor program history. What’s even more exciting for Baylor fans is that Mayer’s growth shows no sign of stopping.

“He took a package out of everybody’s book, because he’s watching us,” Vital said about Mayer. “Matt became a better rebounder; he took it from me. A better defender, he took it from me. A better shooter, watching MaCio. He sees that Davion and everybody does a great job of driving and everything. Matt was always that guy that can learn.”

Mayer’s ability to watch and learn from his teammates, as well as his newfound focus on efficiency, has even led him to be christened “the best NBA prospect at Baylor” by ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, which is no small praise considering the players Baylor has.

“I always tell him; I feel like he’s got the most NBA everything. 6’9″, can shoot, athletic,” Vital said. “I feel like he’s got it all.”

It remains to be seen if Mayer can fully maximize his potential at Baylor, but with the growth and maturity he has showcased this year, it seems more like a foregone conclusion than an actual question. If his game and maturity continues to blossom, it might finally be Matthew Mayer’s time to take the spotlight.

Lady Bears shake off snow, beat Oklahoma State to take one more step toward another title

Junior forward NaLyssa Smith led the Lady Bears with 20 points in their 70-51 win over Oklahoma State Wednesday in the Ferrell Center, putting Baylor one step closer to another conference title. Photo courtesy of Joshua McSwain

By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer

Baylor women’s basketball returned to the Ferrell Center after a one-game road trip, and they did so in strong fashion, beating Oklahoma State 70-51. The win marks Baylor’s 10th in a row, keeping them atop the Big 12 standings.

The Lady Bears were led by junior forward NaLyssa Smith who scored 20 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked three shots. Smith was far from Baylor’s only contributor, as guard DiJonai Carrington posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Not to be outdone, guard DiDi Richards dished out 11 assists, as many as Oklahoma State’s entire team. Richards’ striking assist numbers are aided by the talent around her, and she knows it’s part of her role to keep her teammates involved.

“That’s what’s good about this team,” Richards said. “At any given time someone can be hot. You just have to figure out which one is hot at the time and be able to give them the ball in their shooting time.”

While the final score indicated a significant win for the Lady Bears, the game didn’t start as a blowout. Early on, Oklahoma State was winning the turnover battle and beating Baylor in the open court. Players like OSU’s Natasha Mack, who went for 18 points and 18 rebounds in this one, are tough for any team to defend. The ‘Pokes have continued to surprise this season, but Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey wasn’t caught off guard by their toughness.

“Give a little credit to Oklahoma State,” Mulkey said. “You’re playing a team that’s fighting for second, third place in the league. A good team, well coached team. A team that just has my utmost respect because of what they’ve done all year. Picked eighth in our conference, and look where they are.”

Despite shooting just 36% in the first quarter, Baylor went to halftime with a 14-point lead. That lead was built entirely in the last four minutes and 48 seconds of the half, when Baylor went on a 16-0 run. That run was fueled largely by Smith, Carrington and the passing skill of Richards. During the run, Smith scored eight points, only two less than Oklahoma State scored in the entire quarter.

The Lady Bears continued to build on their lead in the third quarter, pushing the margin to as high as 20. In the third, Baylor saw more contributions from their bench, as the reserve unit scored eight points to OSU’s goose egg in the quarter. Baylor was also able to capitalize on their second chance opportunities, getting seven seconds chance points in the third alone. The dominance continued in the turnover column, as the Lady Bears outscored Oklahoma State off of turnovers as well.

The fourth quarter was no less impactful than its predecessors, as Baylor went on another huge tear to keep OSU out of striking distance. This time, the run was 14-2 in just under four minutes of play. That kind of explosive scoring is dangerous for opponents, and it’s a large part of why Baylor is close to clinching a share of their 11th conference title in the past 21 years, six more titles than any other Big 12 team.

As nice as banners are, the Lady Bears can hardly afford to get ahead of themselves. Instead, their minds are on their next game, an 11 a.m. contest with K-State Saturday in the Ferrell Center. The game is set to be broadcast on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

No. 2 Bears sweep UT Arlington

With his 97th-career doubles victory Wednesday against UT Arlington at the Hurd Center, Constantin Frantzen now holds sole possesion of the fifth place spot in Baylor's record books. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Jarrod Leicher | Reporter

The No. 2 Bears defeated UT Arlington in a 7-0 sweep pushing the team to a 14-2 record. Baylor is now 17-5 all time against UTA and has won the last 15, with the last 11 being 7-0 sweeps.

No. 33-ranked Matias Soto and Nick Stachowiak set the pace in doubles with a 6-1 win over UTA’s Nick Beamish and Angel Diaz on court two. Duo Charlie Broom and Sven Lah fell short 6-4 on court one to Alejandro Hayen and Alan Sau Franco. Earning the point for Baylor in the doubles, Constantin Frantzen and Spencer Furman won 6-3 against Solano Caffarena and Eduard Simo on court three.

In unattached competition, No. 66 ranked Christopher Frantzen and Sebastian Nothhaft secured a 6-1 win over Daichi Akiyoshi and Miguel Cabrera.

Interim Head Coach Michael Woodson said playing UTA is always a great competition.

“They fight hard,” Woodson said. “They compete great, they’re well coached, they never give up and they make it extremely difficult on our team, which is why I love playing against them. Our guys just got so much out of that by just keeping their hands in the fire.”

In singles play, Constantin Frantzen secured the second point and set the pace for Baylor with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Simo on court six. Earning the next point for Baylor on court three, Furman defeated Hayen 6-1, 6-4.

Second-year grad transfer Ryan Dickerson secured the win for Baylor with a 6-3, 6-0 win on court five over Caffarena. Coming in with another win, No. 74-ranked Stachowiak collected the point 6-3, 6-2 against Alan Sau Franco in court two.

With Baylor holding a 5-0 lead in the match, there were still two very close battles on courts one and four. Third-year sophomore Finn Bass dealt with two tiebreakers on court four against Miguel Cabrera winning 7-6(6), 7-6(5).

After missing the first set, No. 46-ranked Adrian Boitan, battling No. 84 Diaz, had a 6-4 loss in the first set. In the second set, coming back from being down 5-2, Boitan narrowly won in a tiebreaker 7-6(3), taking him into the third set breaker, where he came out on top 13-11 to give him the final point.

“It’s easy for guys when they don’t have the best preparation and things are a little uncomfortable to just say it’s not my day,” Woodson said. “So I was extremely impressed with Finn and Adrian in particular, who haven’t had the preparation that some of the other guys had, that got down and didn’t take their hands out of the fire.”

On the riverside court, Nothhaft overcame Beamish for a 6-2, 6-7(3), 1-0(9) win, Christopher Frantzen defeated Daichi Akiyoshi 6-2, 6-4 and second-year freshman Joseph Chen got the win 6-4, 6-1 against Ricardo Alban.

The Bears will next head to North Carolina to face off against a pair of ranked opponents, No. 16 NC State on March 2 in Raleigh and then on on to Winston-Salem to face No. 13 Wake Forest on March 4.

Two instruction days added to academic calendar after winter storm cancellations

The Baylor Academic Calendar has been updated to accommodate for two make-up class instruction days due to class cancellations during the winter storm. Kristen DeHaven | Photo Editor

By Emily Cousins | Staff Writer

The updated academic spring 2021 calendar changed Wellness Day and one of the study days before finals to instruction days to make up for canceled class during the winter storm.

Provost Dr. Nancy Brickhouse sent out an email to faculty and staff members on Wednesday outlining the make-up days and giving guidance for instruction.

“After consultation with the Calendar Committee, the Faculty Senate, the Provost’s Council, and the Council of Deans, we have determined that the best approach is for us to reclaim March 9 (previously held as a Wellness Day) and April 29 (previously scheduled Study Day) as instructional days,” Brickhouse wrote. “Our plan is to not schedule any make-up instructional days beyond these two.”

Brickhouse said on Thursday, April 29, students will attend their classes regularly scheduled for Monday and on Tuesday, March 9, students will attend their regular Tuesday classes.

Austin sophomore Carlie Dill, a member of the Calendar Committee, said she voted to not make up any days because the week of the winter storm was hard for students, and it was far from a vacation or break.

“I personally do not believe this is an unreasonable way to make up the lost week,” Dill said. “A whole week is a huge loss, so hopefully striving to have extra instructional days will allow for more flexibility among professors. After seeing all the options, I can personally account that this is a compromise. The detail and thought show that they choose a very intentional way to make up these days without just tacking on an extra week which is greatly appreciated.”

Matthew Cordon, chair of Faculty Senate as well as director of the Legal Writing Program and a professor of law, said the options ranged from no make-up days to four make-up days.

Many members of faculty also lost power and water during the winter storm and felt similarly to students that the week was not relaxing, Cordon said.

“Some went days without power and so forth, so last week was no break for them,” Cordon said. “Some individual faculty members expressed the need to make up those days because the time during class is so important. Other faculty thought differently and would have preferred to allow individual professors determine how to make up those days, if at all.”

Cordon also said the university was concerned about “accreditation standards regarding class times and learning outcomes.”

“I thought what the Provost’s Office chose was a reasonable middle ground,” Cordon said. “There was no option that was going to make everyone happy, so I thought the choice represented a reasonable compromise, especially with the accreditation concerns.”

Brickhouse advised in her email that faculty avoid “doubling up” tests and assignments in the next few weeks to catch up.

“Communication with students is critical as they, too, are thinking about how to adjust and complete the semester,” Brickhouse wrote. “They are likely wondering how they will catch up on tests, assignments, and instruction from last week while also navigating new assignments for the coming weeks.”

Brickhouse said the quality of the faculty gives the administration confidence the semester will finish on a good note.

“As I look back over the spring semester to date, it is remarkable how you have navigated the ongoing challenges due to COVID-19 and difficulties of unprecedented severe winter weather,” Brickhouse wrote. “Your care for our students and for one another has been inspiring, and I am deeply grateful to you for your continued perseverance.”

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