Mulkey Not A Big Fan Of Timing Of Game Vs. UConn

According to Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, the months of January and February represent the time to put yourself in prime position to win a conference championship. It is not necessarily the time to play a high-profile non-conference game on the road.

The top-ranked Lady Bears clinched at least a tie for the Big 12 championship with a win over TCU Saturday. They will look to clinch the title outright against Texas Feb. 23. In between, they will face No. 3 UConn at the XL Center Monday (9 p.m.; ESPN2).

The match-up with the Huskies will be the latest that Baylor has played a non-conference game during in 13 seasons under Mulkey. Had it not been for the urging of ESPN officials, this game might not have been scheduled at all.

“The timing of it. Going on the road. A two-and-a-half hour flight. Getting back at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning. Just the timing of it,’’ Mulkey said. “But I agreed to it because it is good for women’s basketball. I don’t know (UConn coach) Geno (Auriemma’s) Big East schedule, but I know the timing of ours is that I don’t want anything to take away from us having an opportunity to clinch an outright championship the next game when we get back from UConn. Initially, I said, `No.’ And just had a lot of phone calls from television, ESPN people, to give me their push why we should and I agreed to do it.

“I think it goes against what you’re trying to do with your program. Our program, really selfishly, is the most important thing in January and February to try to get to the postseason and to win a conference championship. But yet, at the same time, you feel a sense of a responsibility to do what’s good for the women’s game and keep the fan interest there and I understand that too. Which one is more important to me? It’s going to be Baylor University. But we’ll go and we’ll give it our best shot and I’m sure they will too. It should be a fantastic game. I just don’t want people to overemphasize it.’’

The latest non-conference game under Mulkey had been an 88-57 loss at LSU Jan. 20, 2006. That was also televised on ESPN2.

Auriemma also does not see this game as being ideal at this point in the season. But playing a non-conference game in February is nothing new for the Huskies over the past few seasons.

UConn faced Oklahoma on Feb. 13, 14 and 15 over the past three seasons, respectively. The Huskies also faced LSU Feb. 25, 2008 and Feb. 11, 2007 and Texas Feb. 12, 2006.

“I think it’s good in the sense that you kind of get away from the conference games for a while,’’ Auriemma said. “It’s a game that really doesn’t affect your ability to win a championship. Every conference game has an impact on whether you win the Big East regular season championship or not. This game doesn’t. And I think any time you can do that, to just play a game that’s kind of a preview of the kind of game you hope to play in March I think it’s always good. Regardless of whether it’s January, February.

“It’s not ideal in the middle of February. I think by now you’d like to just kind of be in a rhythm. But I think it’s good for your younger guys to see this is what potentially it could look like in March. So in that respect I think it’s pretty good.’’


Categories: General

5 Responses

  1. Hear Ye Hear Ye says:

    and better head coaches

  2. Trouttimekv says:

    Maryland duke penn state Purdue and every other top 10 and top 25 team we have beaten means nothing u moron. Baylor this year and the last two Notre Dame teams were much better than us – more talented deeper and much more experienced.

  3. Good Grief says:

    The other wins were against pathetic competition, except 1 Notre Dame game and 1 Stanford game. WCBB is 4 teams and then high school level talent. Why do you think players like Engeln, Johnson, and Buck did not play for Geno? Because they belong on other teams. Stanford won because Sims was out.

  4. CSB says:

    Baylor is not unstoppable. Stanford proved that. If Griner gets in foul trouble, UConn will role. Baylor is not nearly as deep as you think they are. Its easy to point at 5 losses over two seasons when the rest of the record include 45 wins and a winning margin averaging 25+.

  5. This And That says:

    Griner is the POY. Sims is better than any guard UConn has. That is not slamming any UConn player. That is giving recognition to the best center-guard tandem since Tina and Renee or Sylvia and Seimone.

    UConn is 0-5 in the last 5 games decided by 5 points or less, including Baylor and Notre Dame. That is as much a coaching fault as it is the players.

    Media and players hype that UConn’s practices are more difficult than games, yet the Huskies have difficulty closing out close games.

    Like the rest of those interested in women’s college basketball, Mulkey knows Stewart hates the phyical nature of the game. Look for Baylor to rough up Stewart, even at the expense of extra fouls.

    As much as UConn needs Doty to help run the offense, expect Mulkey to have quicker guards blow by Doty, thus putting Dolson and Stewart at risk of a foul while rotating over to help.

    Dolson should not attempt to block Griner’s shots, unless she wants to sit on the bench in foul trouble. Dolson cannot reach the ball when Griner is shooting, so Dolson risks hitting Griner on the elbow.

    Hartley is well know for dribbling too high and has been picked by guards not named Sims.

    I see only two ways that UConn can defeat Baylor. Sims or Griner miss most of the game. Or the Huskies make 20 three pointers on 40 attempts.