• Lady Bears begin new season with No. 3 national ranking

    Baylor women's basketball

    When the Baylor women’s basketball team opens the 2017-18 regular season Friday, they’ll do so once again in the rarified air of an elite national ranking.

    The Lady Bears were ranked No. 3 in the preseason AP poll, marking the eighth straight year head coach Kim Mulkey’s team has opened the season ranked in the top 5. Only UConn and Texas stand ahead of the Lady Bears in the AP poll, with UT just 13 points ahead of the Lady Bears — virtually neck and neck for No. 2.

    For Baylor, the 2017-18 season will feature a mix of veteran talent and exciting newcomers, facing a challenging schedule to prepare them for conference and postseason play. In other words, the sort of season we’ve come to expect over the decade-plus.

    This year’s team will be led by 6-foot-7 junior center Kalani Brown, who last month was named Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year — the seventh time in the last eight years that honor has gone to a Lady Bear. Brown, who nearly averaged a double-double last year with over 15 points and 8 rebounds per game, will joined by two other preseason All-Big 12 team members in senior guard Kristy Wallace and sophomore forward Lauren Cox, both of whom received honorable mention.

    Such veterans will be joined by a class of newcomers that some say is the nation’s best. This year’s freshman guard quartet of Alexis Morris, Trinity Oliver, Didi Richards and Moon Ursin was named the best signing class in the nation by Prospects Nation, and earned a No. 4 ranking from ESPN.

    After a season-opening three-game homestand — which begins Friday night at 7 p.m. against Lamar — the Lady Bears’ schedule provides one test after another. Following a road game at No. 8 UCLA, they’ll likely face Georgia Tech in the Bahamas over Thanksgiving week. After Thanksgiving, Lady Bear fans will be treated to home games against Kentucky and No. 10 Stanford in the Ferrell Center. When Big 12 play arrives, the Lady Bears will have two games each against No. 2 Texas, No. 13 West Virginia, and No. 22 Oklahoma.

    Sic ’em, Lady Bears!

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