National champion Lady Bears add to a special year in Waco

2 Comments

To say that the 2011-12 sports season for Baylor University was a good one would be a major understatement.

Much maligned in the Big 12 since the league’s inception, the Waco, Texas school has never put together a sports year as good as this one.

It began with Robert Griffin III winning the school’s first Heisman Trophy and leading the football team to its first 10-win season in more than 30 years, culminating in an Alamo Bowl win over Washington.

Things got better on the hardwood as Scott Drew led the men to their second Elite Eight appearance in three years, and Kim Mulkey’s Lady Bears made history.

Capping the first-ever 40-0 mark in major college basketball with an 80-61 win over Notre Dame on Tuesday night, Baylor returned home to a hero’s welcome at Ferrell Center.

And just as this year’s team embraced the lofty expectations, the 2012-13 Lady Bears will be ready with all five starters returning.

“I can’t even think about next year, but we’re going to be good,” Mulkey said in a news conference after the public celebration. “The expectations are there. Had we not won the national championship this year, the expectations would be there. And we’re going to embrace it. We’re going to do that very humbly, not arrogantly. We’re going to do it with a sense of appreciation for what we did this year. We like the way it feels. We want to do it again.”

MOP Brittney Griner may have led the way it takes more than one transcendent player for a team to reach its goal of winning a championship, as the junior was sure to point out following the ceremony.

“It definitely takes more than me to win a national championship. You can’t do this by yourself,” Griner said.

The question now is what can the Lady Bears do for an encore.

The pieces for another title run are definitely there, but while they were the ‘hunted’ this season it’s a little different with the title in your possession as well. But Baylor will be ready to embrace the challenge.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.