The Baylor Lady Bears’ national championship run and the start of their new season will intersect on Tuesday night at the Ferrell Center.
Baylor’s season opener versus New Hampshire, which tips at 6 p.m., will feature a ring and banner ceremony in pregame. The Lady Bears will unveil their third national championship banner and distribute rings.
Three rings to be exact.
The Lady Bears will be receiving NCAA-issued championship rings, plus Baylor-designed national title and Big 12 title jewelry.
“They deserve to have it,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “It’s just a fun moment and you just kind of watch their faces and relive what they feel through the smiles of seeing that ring.”
Mulkey said the national championship ceremony will start about 5:30. And then it’s back to work.
Baylor has high expectations for the follow up to its third national title run. The Lady Bears return three starters and three more key bench players from the team that went all the way and defeated Notre Dame, 82-81, in the NCAA Tournament final.
Baylor senior shooting guard Juicy Landrum acknowledged that center Kalani Brown and Chloe Jackson, both of whom went high in the WNBA Draft last April, will be missed. But there are still plenty of talented players on the roster.
“You can’t replace (Brown and Jackson),” Landrum said. “(But we’ve) got another All-American point guard, got an All-American post player still. I think we’re still going to be great. We’ve got a chance to get back to another Final Four.”
The new campaign begins with the New Hampshire Wildcats, who went 6-24 and tied for seventh in the America East Conference in 2018-2019.
Mulkey pointed out that the Wildcats lost a couple of post players to injuries a year ago, keeping them from being more competitive in their conference.
And, ultimately, the new Lady Bears team is focused on finding its own identity.
“It’s more about us,” Mulkey said. “It’s more about what we do early in the season.”