OKLAHOMA CITY — After cruising previous Louisville to achieve the Elite Eight for the fourth consecutive yr, top-seeded Baylor faces a brand new problem in Sunday’s Oklahoma Metropolis Regional ultimate — an all-in-one bundle of energy and measurement.
At 6-7, redshirt freshman Teaira McCowan is the key inside menace for No. 2 seed Mississippi State, which takes on Baylor for the suitable to advance to subsequent weekend’s Ultimate 4 in Dallas.
Having averaged eight.four factors per sport for the season, McCowan had considerably of a coming-out get together towards third-seeded Washington with 26 factors on 12-of-18 taking pictures and 12 rebounds.
Baylor coach Kim Mulkey is aware of McCowan, who was a five-star prospect at Brenham, about two hours from Waco. Mulkey mentioned she “watched her develop up.”
“Sadly, you must make selections in recruiting,” Mulkey mentioned. “I am proud and completely satisfied for her as a result of I’ve watched a younger woman develop up actually proper earlier than my eyes, from the time she was a seventh-grader.”
McCowan mentioned she did not select the Girl Bears as a result of they had been already loaded with huge gamers. Ahead Kalani Brown, who additionally stands 6-7 and was a part of the identical recruiting class, leads the Girl Bears this season with 15.1 factors and eight.2 rebounds per sport.
Brown noticed that sort of top this season in Large 12 play, particularly in Oklahoma’s 6-9 Nancy Mulkey. However she hasn’t seen the mixture of top and energy she’ll face within the publish towards McCowan.
“I’ve truly performed her earlier than on the AAU circuit,” Brown mentioned. “She’s a giant, sturdy publish. Should you let her bury you or get you deep, she’ll punish you in there.”
This will even be a primary for McCowan, who mentioned she hasn’t gone up towards anybody in faculty whom she will be able to see eye to eye.
Her battle with Brown will doubtless have a serious position within the end result Sunday. Baylor additionally has Nina Davis, an undersized ahead who had a strong sport of her personal Friday within the 97-63 win over Louisville, placing up a team-high 21 factors on 10-of-15 taking pictures.
Davis credited her success to Louisville’s determination to double-team Baylor’s publish gamers, Brown and fellow sophomore Beatrice Mompremier.
However Baylor will face a unique model of protection Sunday, Brown mentioned.
“[You] fear a few double-team,” Brown mentioned. “However positively getting my shot over [McCowan’s] size might be going to be the most important problem.”
Mulkey is aware of Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer’s intense fashion of protection, relationship to his days as an assistant at Texas A&M, when the Aggies had been nonetheless within the Large 12. That fashion earned him the moniker “Secretary of Protection.”
The Girl Bears have outscored their first three match opponents by a margin of 163 factors — an NCAA report. They’re prone to face a more durable time Sunday.
“You are going to see stress in all places,” Mulkey mentioned. “Simply deal with the stress, understand there’s not going to be a simple go. You are going to must work to get open. You are going to must work for every thing you get.”
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