No. 1 Baylor remains undefeated

Stefan Scrafield

The Baylor Bears (24-0, 11-0 Big 12) are having the best year in school history and are showing no signs of slowing down as they cruise through their conference schedule.

The Bears, whose perfect record leaves them and Green Bay as the only undefeated teams left in the country, appear unstoppable at this point. They have won each of their last six games by at least 27 points and lead the Big 12 in 13 of the 21 team statistics.

Baylor’s incredible success has been no surprise to Missouri head coach Robin Pingeton.

“They have a roster full of McDonald’s All-Americans,” Pingeton said. “They have a high basketball IQ and great athleticism. They have explosiveness and quickness. They can guard on the perimeter and they can score a variety of ways.”

The Bears have already defeated each of the seven teams left on their schedule and, barring a couple huge upsets, should have no trouble holding on to their No. 1 ranking as the season comes to a close.

Griner still conference Player of the Year Favorite

Brittney Griner, who was named preseason Big 12 Player of the Year for the second consecutive year at the start of the season, appears to be a lock to win the award come March.

The Baylor post has had her way with opposing defenses this year, averaging a conference-leading 23 points a game while shooting 63 percent from the field. Her 128 blocks lead the nation and her average of 9.7 rebounds a game makes her and Iowa State post Chelsea Poppens the only two Big 12 players averaging a double-double.

“(Brittney) Griner has gotten better every year,” said Oklahoma head coach Sherri Coale after her team’s loss to the Bears on Monday night. “That summer that she spent with USA Basketball is obviously paying off. She is a much more mature player, has so much more depth to her and so many more things she can do.”

Griner became the first player in NCAA Division 1 women’s basketball history to score 2000 points and record 500 blocks over the course of their career in a win over Kansas State on Saturday afternoon.

Big 12 continues to be best conference in the nation

We are now through more than three quarters of the regular season and deep into conference play, and the Big 12 is proving to be the toughest league in the country.

The conference leads the nation in both the Jeff Sagarin and College Basketball News’ RPI ratings. It is the only conference with each of its team’s strength of schedule in the top 80 and Big 12 teams lead the nation with a .868 winning percentage against nonconference opponents. One nonconference game remains as Connecticut travels to Oklahoma on Feb. 12.

With the exception of undefeated Baylor on top and winless Missouri at the bottom of the standings, competition within the conference has been incredibly close all year. More than half the games in conference play have been decided by single digits, and 14 have been won by a margin of five or less.

“The Big 12 is such a war and we’re so evenly balanced throughout the conference,” said Texas head coach Gail Goestenkors. “Many of the games are going to come down to the wire. There are going to be a lot of games that are going to be decided by six points or less. If the teams that can execute down the stretch hit their free throws and make the big plays, they’re going to win the big games.”

Printed on Wednesday, February 8, 2012 as: Baylor still undefeated, dominating in Big 12