OKLAHOMA CITY — Louisville coach Jeff Walz coached Baylor freshman Lauren Cox in the 2015 Women’s U-19 World Championship.
Cox tied for the team lead with eight blocks as USA Basketball went 7-0 and won the gold.
Walz coached Baylor sophomore Beatrice Mompremier a year prior in the FIBA Americas U-18 Championship.
Mompremier averaged 9.0 points, 5.4 boards and five steals as USA Basketball won it all.
“Both of them were a joy to work with,” Walz said. “Just two great kids. They worked extremely hard. Bea has done a really nice job of developing her eight- to 10-foot jumpshot. Very active around the glass. She’s done a very, very good job for them. Lauren, she’s done great things all throughout her high school career, USA Basketball. So it really has not surprised me to see her playing as well as she is.”
Take care of the ball
For Nina Davis, the key to Baylor’s Sweet 16 match-up against Louisville is taking care of the basketball.
The Cardinals force 16.9 turnovers per game which lead to 18.2 points off those errs.
“Both teams are great and both teams are different in different ways,” the Baylor senior said. “They have three great perimeter players that we are going to have to try to slow down. We’re going to take an inside, outside take. Try to get the inside going and try to get it to the outside. … It’s just going to come down to who wants it the most.”
From the podium, Myisha Hines-Allen turned to her left and asked Asia Durr a question.
“What would you do if Russell Westbrook came to our game?”
Durr grinned and composed herself before answering.
“I know his favorite song, and we would turn up to it,” Durr said. “Like ‘Now I Do What I Want,’ that is our song .I think we could jam to that. But I would lose my mind if he came because he’s a beast. I bet he’s a great person as well. I hope he comes tomorrow. Hopefully they don’t have a game.”
The Thunder don’t play until Sunday, March 26 at Houston.
Durr then turned back to Hines-Allen and asked her the same question.
“I would be really happy,” Hines-Allen said. “You know, Kevin Durant came to the game when Louisville beat Baylor last time, so why not get Russell Westbrook there and help us repeat history.”
Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer and Washington coach Mike Neighbors have known each other for years.
The two were assistant coaches under Gary Blair at Arkansas from 1997-2003.
“I’ve got some great pictures of Vic if anybody needs them,” Neighbors said with a grin. “He may have some of me, too.”
Schaefer described Neighbors’s offense at Washington like the Houston Rockets, i.e. Kelsey Plum as James Harden and everyone else contributing around her.
“(Schaefer) knows,” Neighbors said. “Obviously Vic and I are very, very close friends.” I spent three days in Starkville last summer talking about offense, so there’s no secrets. He knows exactly what we’re going to do and not even what but how we’re going to do it.”
She’s heard it before.
Plum has been compared to Harden a couple of times already.
“It’s very cool,” she said. “I just can’t say anything. I mean, he’s playing like the MVP right now. So to be compared to somebody like that is just an honor.”
Plum agrees with the comparisons.
She and Harden are both left-handed. The way they create their shots is similar.
But Harden isn’t her favorite player.
Steph Curry is.
“But I don’t compare myself to him,” Plum said. “He’s like a unicorn. I don’t think you compare yourself to that.”
Schaefer has plenty of experience defending a scorer like Kelsey Plum.
He had to go against Jackie Stiles – the former leading scorer in women’s college basketball history before Plum broke her record this season.
“We had a couple bad experiences with (Stiles) and one good one,” Schaefer said. “I’m hoping tomorrow in my only opportunity with her, we have a good one. Obviously Jackie Stiles, Kelsey Plum, those are two of the best to ever play the game. From an offensive standpoint, they’re so multidimensional.”