Baylor Texas Southern

Baylor guard Kristy Wallace (middle) scores in the Lady Bears’ blowout victory over Texas Southern in the NCAA first round. Wallace’s family flew 16 hours from Loganholme, Queensland, Australia to watch her play in the NCAA tournament.

Staff photo — Rod Aydelotte

Kristy Wallace’s family is in Waco to watch her play in the NCAA tournament.

If you don’t know Wallace, you would think this is normal.

Parents visit their kids at college all the time.

But Wallace is from Loganholme, Queensland, Australia.

It’s a brutal – as Wallace put it – 16 hour flight.

“I’m very thankful that they got to make it up here to the tournament,” Wallace said. “Yeah, very blessed to have my family here and very excited that they get to watch a few games. It’s a big effort and a big trip to make. I’m just thankful that they get to be here.”

Depth

Each team brings different challenges for Kim Mulkey.

For this year’s team, it’s getting everyone their minutes.

“What this team has done is challenged me to stay on my toes because we’ve got so many that can play,” the Baylor coach said. “You usually can figure out your rotation after about a month of practice. This team just has so much talent that I can’t do that. It’s game-to-game. It’s who we play. It’s who is playing good. I can’t ever relax because I’m always trying to be conscious of who needs to be on the floor together for us to win and for them to look good.”

That depth was on full display in Baylor’s 89-point victory over Texas Southern.

Only three players played more than 20 minutes in the contest, two of whom were starters.

The bench poured in 63 points. More than half of those came from freshmen playing in their first ever NCAA tournament game.

Second round stats

Baylor is 11-3 in NCAA tournament second round games.

The Lady Bears have not lost a second round game since March 24, 2008, when they fell to Pittsburgh, 67-59.

Cal has lost in the second round its past two appearances in the tournament – to Baylor (75-56) in 2014 and Texas (73-70) in 2015.

Facing Baylor

Lindsay Gottlieb didn’t have time to watch much Lady Bear basketball during the season.

But once she broke down film on Cal’s NCAA tournament second-round opponent, she knew Baylor was as legit as she thought.

“They’re really, really good,” the Cal coach said. “They’re like a WNBA team and I say that with a lot of respect for the WNBA. I watch WNBA. They have pros on the floor. They’re in sync with one another and they do a great job. … They don’t have real weaknesses and they do a great job of playing to their strengths. The inside game is unreal. They’re bringing in the next big body after the next big body and at the same time their guard play is good.”

Gottlieb knows Baylor is supposed to win and go to the Final Four.

She thinks the Lady Bears are a legit national championship contender.

But that isn’t stopping her and her team from trying to unseat the No. 1 seed Monday night.

“Why not?” Gottlieb said. “Why not take a shot at being able to make history or bring this team in here and do something that’s unexpected?”

Don't Miss...