No. 7 Baylor women rout K-State, 11th straight Big 12 title

Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

WACO, Texas — Baylor’s Queen Egbo lifted teammate DiDi Richards while dancing a couple of circles before an instant team photo while coach Kim Mulkey crouched to greet her grandson as he ran toward her.

Yes, the Lady Bears are celebrating yet another Big 12 regular-season title.

Egbo scored 19 points and No. 7 Baylor extended the nation’s longest current streak of consecutive regular-season women’s conference titles to 11, clinching at least a tie for the crown by beating Kansas State 85-49 Saturday.

The socially distanced celebration, missing the fans that usually join them on the court, came amid a season interrupted by COVID-19 in early January.

The newest trophy sat alone on a table on a riser at midcourt. The other 11 – Baylor has 12 overall – were lined up on several tables below. Many in the coronavirus-limited crowd of 2,203 stayed to watch.

“I in 35 years of coaching have never coached under these circumstances,” Mulkey said. “It’s scary. It’s frustrating. And yet, I think of those kids that were in that corner over there with their championship hats on. And they just kept playing. To think that can continue to focus on basketball under those circumstances and win another championship, very, very special.”

NaLyssa Smith added 16 points and Moon Ursin scored all 15 of her points in the first half and had a career-high eight assists as the Lady Bears (19-2, 14-1) topped the Wildcats for the 36th straight time.

Baylor, which won the most recent NCAA Tournament title in 2019, has a 184-9 regular-season league record during the title streak, including four 18-0 seasons. The Lady Bears have also won eight conference tournaments in that stretch.

No. 18 West Virginia is the only team that can catch Baylor, and it would require the Lady Bears losing their remaining three games.

Rachel Ranke hit three 3-pointers for nine points for Kansas State (7-15, 2-13). She reached 1,000 points exactly for career and became the sixth player in school history with at least that many points to go with at least 300 rebounds and at least 200 3s.

Ursin, a career backup before becoming a full-time starter this season, finished her strong first half by tipping an offensive rebound to herself and beating the buzzer with a jumper for a 40-19 halftime lead.

A few minutes later, Ursin, Richards and Stanford graduate transfer DiJonai Carrington, who made her first start of the season, were taking flower bouquets from Mulkey in a senior day halftime celebration.

The Lady Bears chose this game to celebrate rather than their final scheduled home outing, a COVID-19 makeup game against West Virginia on March 8.

With Baylor leading by 38 and 1:11 remaining, Mulkey sent Ursin, Richards and Carrington back into the game. Ursin brought the ball past midcourt, and Baylor called timeout to take them out again. Those three also took a celebratory lap around the court after the final buzzer.

Richards, fourth on the school’s career list in assists, finished with six while scoring two points. Carrington had six points.

“I remember stepping on campus, and I didn’t think I was going to make it,” Ursin said. “Just homesick, just sad. But I’m here now. It’s been a great four years. It was really emotional. To be honest, I really couldn’t sleep last night. Excited, nervous, anxious.”

A jumper by Moon started a 20-2 run over the first and second quarters that turned a 14-9 lead into a 34-11 advantage, and the Lady Bears steadily pulled away while leading by as many as 39 points.

“I think Baylor was really sharp today, but I think we were very reactive,” said Kansas State coach Jeff Mittie, whose team is 2-3 since starting 0-10 in conference. “They were able to dictate a lot of things to us.”


Kansas State: The Wildcats have one of the best centers in the country in 6-foot-6 Ayoka Lee, who had eight points. But they were still no match for the size of the Lady Bears. Baylor simply dominated points in the paint (46-18) and rebounding (42-25).

Baylor: All but three Big 12 wins have been by at least 19 points. Kansas State had one of the exceptions, a 64-52 loss at home. But this one was never close, with the Lady Bears surpassing that margin for good early in the second quarter.


The fourth straight regular-season title for Richards was special because of her recovery from a collision with Moon in practice in October that temporarily left her without feeling in her lower legs. When Richards’ first returned to the team, she was using a walker. She ended up missing just one game, making her debut on Dec. 1.

“What DiDi was able to do was kind of focus that, `This is my goal. My goal is not to wait a year and get my mind right. My goal, my mind, everything’s good to go. I’ve just got to get my body back,”‘ Mulkey said. “When she got the clearance, she hasn’t missed a beat that I can see.”


Kansas State: TCU at home Monday.

Baylor: At Texas on Monday.

Biden celebrates LSU women’s and UConn men’s basketball teams at separate White House events


WASHINGTON – All of the past drama and sore feelings associated with Louisiana State’s invitation to the White House were seemingly forgotten or set aside Friday as President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcomed the championship women’s basketball team to the mansion with smiles, hugs and lavish praise all around.

The visit had once appeared in jeopardy after Jill Biden suggested that the losing Iowa team be invited, too. But none of that was mentioned as both Bidens heralded the players for their performance and the way they have helped advance women’s sports.

“Folks, we witnessed history,” the president said. “In this team, we saw hope, we saw pride and we saw purpose. It matters.”

The ceremony was halted for about 10 minutes after forward Sa’Myah Smith appeared to collapse as she and her teammates stood behind Biden. A wheelchair was brought in and coach Kim Mulkey assured the audience that Smith was fine.

LSU said in a statement that Smith felt overheated, nauseous and thought she might faint. She was evaluated by LSU and White House medical staff and was later able to rejoin the team. “She is feeling well, in good spirits, and will undergo further evaluation once back in Baton Rouge,” the LSU statement said.

Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, Biden said, more than half of all college students are women, and there are now 10 times more female athletes in college and high school. He said most sports stories are still about men, and that that needs to change.

Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs and activities.

“Folks, we need to support women sports, not just during the championship run but during the entire year,” President Biden said.

After the Tigers beat Iowa for the NCAA title in April in a game the first lady attended, she caused an uproar by suggesting that the Hawkeyes also come to the White House.

LSU star Angel Reese called the idea “A JOKE” and said she would prefer to visit with former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, instead. The LSU team largely is Black, while Iowa’s top player, Caitlin Clark, is white, as are most of her teammates.

Nothing came of Jill Biden’s idea and the White House only invited the Tigers. Reese ultimately said she would not skip the White House visit. She and co-captain Emily Ward presented team jerseys bearing the number “46” to Biden and the first lady. Hugs were exchanged.

Jill Biden also lavished praise on the team, saying the players showed “what it means to be a champion.”

“In this room, I see the absolute best of the best,” she said, adding that watching them play was “pure magic.”

“Every basket was pure joy and I kept thinking about how far women’s sports have come,” the first lady added, noting that she grew up before Title IX was passed. “We’ve made so much progress and we still have so much more work to do.”

The president added that “the way in which women’s sports has come along is just incredible. It’s really neat to see, since I’ve got four granddaughters.”

After Smith was helped to a wheelchair, Mulkey told the audience the player was OK.

“As you can see, we leave our mark where we go,” Mulkey joked. “Sa’Myah is fine. She’s kind of, right now, embarrassed.”

A few members of Congress and Biden aides past and present with Louisiana roots dropped what they were doing to attend the East Room event, including White House budget director Shalanda Young. Young is in the thick of negotiations with House Republicans to reach a deal by the middle of next week to stave off what would be a globally calamitous U.S. financial default if the U.S. can no longer borrow the money it needs to pay its bills.

The president, who wore a necktie in the shade of LSU’s purple, said Young, who grew up in Baton Rouge, told him, “I’m leaving the talks to be here.” Rep. Garret Graves, one of the House GOP negotiators, also attended.

Biden closed sports Friday by changing to a blue tie and welcoming the UConn’s men’s championship team for its own celebration. The Huskies won their fifth national title by defeating San Diego State, 76-59, in April.

“Congratulations to the whole UConn nation,” he said.

Marquette’s Prosper says he will stay in draft rather than returning to school

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MILWAUKEE — Olivier-Maxence Prosper announced he is keeping his name under NBA draft consideration rather than returning to Marquette.

The 6-foot-8 forward announced his decision.

“Thank you Marquette nation, my coaches, my teammates and support staff for embracing me from day one,” Prosper said in an Instagram post. “My time at Marquette has been incredible. With that being said, I will remain in the 2023 NBA Draft. I’m excited for what comes next. On to the next chapter…”

Prosper had announced last month he was entering the draft. He still could have returned to school and maintained his college eligibility by withdrawing from the draft by May 31. Prosper’s announcement indicates he instead is going ahead with his plans to turn pro.

Prosper averaged 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds last season while helping Marquette go 29-7 and win the Big East’s regular-season and tournament titles. Marquette’s season ended with a 69-60 loss to Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32.

He played two seasons at Marquette after transferring from Clemson, where he spent one season.

Kansas’ Kevin McCullar Jr. returning for last season of eligibility

kansas mccullar
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Kevin McCullar Jr. said that he will return to Kansas for his final year of eligibility, likely rounding out a roster that could make the Jayhawks the preseason No. 1 next season.

McCullar transferred from Texas Tech to Kansas for last season, when he started 33 of 34 games and averaged 10.7 points and 7.0 rebounds. He was also among the nation’s leaders in steals, and along with being selected to the Big 12’s all-defensive team, the 6-foot-6 forward was a semifinalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award.

“To be able to play in front of the best fans in the country; to play for the best coach in the nation, I truly believe we have the pieces to hang another banner in the Phog,” McCullar said in announcing his return.

Along with McCullar, the Jayhawks return starters Dajuan Harris Jr. and K.J. Adams from a team that went 28–8, won the Big 12 regular-season title and was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where it lost to Arkansas in the second round.

Perhaps more importantly, the Jayhawks landed Michigan transfer Hunter Dickinson, widely considered the best player in the portal, to anchor a lineup that was missing a true big man. They also grabbed former five-star prospect Arterio Morris, who left Texas, and Towson’s Nick Timberlake, who emerged last season as one of the best 3-point shooters in the country.

The Jayhawks also have an elite recruiting class arriving that is headlined by five-star recruit Elmarko Jackson.

McCullar declared for the draft but, after getting feedback from scouts, decided to return. He was a redshirt senior last season, but he has another year of eligibility because part of his career was played during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a big day for Kansas basketball,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. “Kevin is not only a terrific player but a terrific teammate. He fit in so well in year one and we’re excited about what he’ll do with our program from a leadership standpoint.”

Clemson leading scorer Hall withdraws from NBA draft, returns to Tigers

clemson pj hall
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson leading scorer PJ Hall is returning to college after withdrawing from the NBA draft on Thursday.

The 6-foot-10 forward took part in the NBA combine and posted his decision to put off the pros on social media.

Hall led the Tigers with 15.3 points per game this past season. He also led the Tigers with 37 blocks, along with 5.7 rebounds. Hall helped Clemson finish third in the Atlantic Coast Conference while posting a program-record 14 league wins.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell said Hall gained experience from going through the NBA’s combine that will help the team next season. “I’m counting on him and others to help lead a very talented group,” he said.

Hall was named to the all-ACC third team last season as the Tigers went 23-10.

George Washington adopts new name ‘Revolutionaries’ to replace ‘Colonials’

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WASHINGTON — George Washington University’s sports teams will now be known as the Revolutionaries, the school announced.

Revolutionaries replaces Colonials, which had been GW’s name since 1926. Officials made the decision last year to drop the old name after determining it no longer unified the community.

GW said 8,000 different names were suggested and 47,000 points of feedback made during the 12-month process. Revolutionaries won out over the other final choices of Ambassadors, Blue Fog and Sentinels.

“I am very grateful for the active engagement of our community throughout the development of the new moniker,” president Mark S. Wrighton said. “This process was truly driven by our students, faculty, staff and alumni, and the result is a moniker that broadly reflects our community – and our distinguished and distinguishable GW spirit.”

George the mascot will stay and a new logo developed soon for the Revolutionaries name that takes effect for the 2023-24 school year. The university is part of the Atlantic 10 Conference.