A Flawless Record with a Flawed Ending
Emotions bubbled up at the Pepsi Center in Denver on April 3. The Lady Bears from Baylor University in Texas capped a perfect 40-0 season, defeating Notre Dame 80-61 in the NCAA Championship game. However, the fame and glory did not last long: less than a week after the Lady Bears won the national championship, the NCAA discovered “violations” by both Baylor basketball teams.
The NCAA placed Baylor on three years probation after an investigation stirred up hundreds of forbidden text messages and telephone calls sent by coaches to young prospects. Both programs combined had made more than 1,200 calls and text messages to young prospects over a 29-month span dating to 2008.
The violations were termed “major” because of their frequency. One punishment includes prohibiting the women’s coach Kim Mulkey from recruiting off campus in July. Also, for both programs there will be fewer scholarships given out.
Superstar Brittney Griner’s recruitment is part of the investigation as well. The NCAA continues to investigate Baylor’s basketball programs. This has put a cloud over Waco, Texas after a short parade of sunshine.
Statistically, Baylor’s glory has not faded quite yet. Griner flew all over the court during the championship game with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocks, leading Baylor to the victory. Griner towered over her competition with confidence all season. When she wasn’t hitting shots over two or three defenders, she was blocking layups and snagging rebounds under the hoop.
This outstanding 6-foot-8 giant found her niche all over the court this season, making it obvious why other teams are banking on Griner to leave early. However, Mulkey made it clear that her playmaker Griner will be sticking around for her senior year.