The Big 12 women’s basketball teams gathered in Kansas City on Tuesday for the conference’s media day. Coaches and players participated in roundtable conversations and gave interviews to multiple outlets.
Here are a few of the biggest highlights:
Baylor injects new talent after national championship season
National champion Baylor Lady Bears head coach Kim Mulkey gave a one-on-one interview with broadcaster Brenda VanLengen. Mulkey discussed how her team will be different coming into this year, contrasting the style of play of the Baylor post players to the departed Kalani Brown. This season, Mulkey said, there will be more play off of the dribble. Erin DeGrate, a graduate transfer from Texas Tech, will look to fill Brown’s starting role.
Te’a Cooper, a graduate transfer from South Carolina, will fill Baylor’s starting point guard role left by Chloe Jackson. Mulkey said that Cooper is a bit more of a ball handler when compared to Jackson, and that Cooper’s range is deeper as well. Cooper was picked as the Big 12’s Newcomer of the Year in the preseason awards.
How Mulkey integrates these experienced players will be key to Baylor’s continued success, especially since the Lady Bears were picked to finish first in the preseason poll.
Brewer looks to lead Texas Tech
In a round table interview, Brittany Brewer, senior center from Texas Tech, discussed playing with Team USA over the summer at the Pan American Games. Brewer said that her biggest takeaway was the need to increase her physicality.
“It was just an honor to play alongside those girls, it was amazing. I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Brewer said.
Brewer, currently projected as a second-round pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft, has the chance to improve her stock as she begins her final college season.
Texas Tech enters its second season under head coach Marlene Stollings and was picked to finish ninth this season. The Lady Raiders finished last season tied for eighth after going 4-14 in conference play.
Longhorns excited about star freshman
Texas head coach Karen Aston had the chance to talk about the preseason pick for Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Celeste Taylor, saying that she comes in ready to work every day.
“There are no highs and lows with her, and that’s really unusual for a freshman,” Aston said. “Most of the time, they are just trying to breathe. They can’t pay attention because they can’t breathe. She’s about as well put together, trying to come in and just do her job.”
Longhorn fans hope the early praise leads to wins on the court as Texas hopes to challenge for the Big 12 title. The preseason poll has Texas in second place, continuing its multi-season trend of finishing behind Baylor.
Wait ... corn?
Time spent in Kansas City was not all business. In an interview with Holly Rowe, Oklahoma sophomore guard Taylor Robertson admitted that the most embarrassing thing she loves to eat is corn:
Big 12 basketball is always fun — on and off the court — and this year looks to be no different.