Who? The Lady Bears of Baylor.
What? Bruiser is the fuzzy one; Baylor also has real bears and a real bear habitat. (I guess it's better than ferrets...)
Where? Waco, Texas, where Dr. Pepper was invented.
When? March 10th, at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri.
Why? They won the Big XII Conference tournament.
How? Texas A&M mostly put the clamps on Brittney Griner and won the turnover battle, but Baylor's Odyssey Sims hit an array of dizzying shots and the Lady Bears won both the rebounding battle (40-27) and the game (73-50). Sims finished with 26 points and four steals, while Destiny Williams had 12 points and 11-rebounds.
Surprise? Whatever the polar opposite of a surprise is would be what this is. The preseason favorites in the Big XII beat everybody, and we do mean everybody.
RPI (as of 3/10): 1
SOS (as of 3/10): 6
Record: xx-y (xx-y Big XII)
Good wins: Notre Dame, UConn, at Tennessee
Bad losses: None. No, seriously. None I can even pretend are bad for the sake of putting something in this space. Zip. Zilch. Unless "only" beating Texas Tech by 8 and 5 counts.
Who's running this show? Kim Mulkey, since 2000. If you can figure out which Trace Adkins song is supposedly about her, please let me know, since I've been all through his discography and can't figure it out.
Extra, Extra! The Dallas Morning News seems unaware of athletes without Y chromosomes, and the Waco Tribune is stuck behind a paywall, but this article on the Baylor athletic program should not be missed. (Plus, Brittney Griner playing in confetti.)
First, there is the obvious. Brittney Griner stands out from the crowd, and not just for her six-eight frame. The numbers are unreal: 23.3 points per game, 9.4 rebounds, over five blocks, 61.3% from the field, 80.4% from the line, a flat-out amazing 1/1 A/TO for a high-usage post. Heck, she's even hit a three.
But this is not one Bear, but a sleuth of them. Sophomore point guard Odyssey Sims is a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman award, dishing out 4.6 assists per game to go with three steals and 14.8 points. Junior forward Destiny Williams flirts with a double-double (9.9 points, 9.3 rebounds). And in the times I've seen Baylor (which, I grant, are few and far between in BEast country) I was always impressed with Kimetria Hayden's ability to be in the right place at the right time, though that's more subjective than I have a right to judge a team or a player on.