For the second year in a row, the Baylor Lady Bears will begin the season as the nation’s No. 1-ranked team.
Associated Press voters made the defending national champions the first Big 12 women’s basketball team ever to start consecutive seasons at No. 1 in the poll. Head coach Kim Mulkey’s squad received all 40 first-place votes and have now sat at No. 1 in 20 consecutive polls.
And really, how could you not? Baylor returns all five starters from last year’s team that went 40-0, including All-Americans Odyssey Sims and Destiny Williams and consensus national player of the year Brittney Griner.
The Lady Bears will face another tough road to the championship. Last year, Baylor faced the preseason Nos. 2, 3 and 4 teams (Notre Dame, Tennessee and UConn before Christmas; this year’s non-conference schedule includes No. 2 UConn, No. 4 Stanford, No. 6 Kentucky, No. 7 Notre Dame and No. 20 Tennessee, plus No. 12 Oklahoma, No. 17 West Virginia and No. 23 Oklahoma State waiting in Big 12 play.
Baylor’s title defense (and run at the program’s third national championship) begins Friday, Nov. 9, when the Lady Bears host Lamar at noon on Fox Sports Southwest.
Sic ’em, Lady Bears!