Baylor coach Kim Mulkey still fuming
Saturday's game between No. 1 Baylor and No. 14 Texas A&M is a sellout.
And to hear Bears coach Kim Mulkey talk again this week, the ticket stubs might be turning into collector's items -- something about to become very rare.
A&M will be in Waco, Texas, for what Mulkey regards as "the last time," as the Aggies will move to the SEC next season, putting an end to one of women's basketball's best rivalries.
She reiterated earlier this week on the Big 12 conference call that she has no intention of scheduling Gary Blair's team once it departs from the conference at the end of the season.
"As far as I'm concerned, it will be [the last time A&M plays in Waco]," Mulkey said. "Speaking for myself it will be, unless there's an NCAA tournament game here in the future and they get placed here or something. I'm not going to play them."
In the fall, Mulkey likened Texas A&M's departure to the Aggies "divorcing" the Big 12. And she made it clear it would not be an amicable separation.
But these two teams are not done yet. The top-ranked Bears, playing the best basketball in the country, and the defending national champion Aggies, struggling to find consistency with a lot of changes since last season, could meet again in the Big 12 tournament -- perhaps even in the NCAA tournament, almost certainly deep in the bracket.
Blair, also on the Big 12 call, said he understands "hard feelings."
"Losing rivalries, yeah, that hurts, and there's nothing I can say that's going to change the rivalries," Blair said. "But this is not about women's basketball, us moving to the SEC. This is all about football and all the other things that go with it, the politics. If North Carolina went to the SEC, Duke and North Carolina would find a way to play, maybe not for a few years.
"Rivalries are there for a reason. If teams are not going to play me because we've gone to the SEC, I understand both sides. It's hard feelings. On the other hand, it's got nothing to do with feelings. It's about recruiting. Everything is about recruiting. That's what we live with in today's world."
Feelings aside, this game will be a big uphill climb for the Aggies. Baylor has won 36 in a row at home and took three out of four against the Aggies last year. But the one win for A&M came in the regional final of the NCAA tournament, sending Baylor home and the Aggies to the Final Four.
Five on the marquee
Elena Delle Donne, Delaware. The Delaware star confirmed that she will not leave for the WNBA at the end of her third college season. She would be eligible to go because she is in her fourth year at Delaware (she played only volleyball in her first season).
Duke. There was not much rivalry, nor much of a game, Monday night when the Blue Devils took on North Carolina and won 96-56. It was the most lopsided Duke win in the series since a 101-58 win in 2000.
Connecticut. When you think of the Huskies, you think win streaks and star names such as Taurasi and Bird and Lobo and Moore. But do you think defense? You should. Geno Auriemma's team leads the nation in scoring defense this season, holding opponents to just 44.7 points per game, more than three points less than South Carolina, which ranks No. 2. The Huskies hold opponents to 30 percent shooting from the floor, also first in the country.
Sharane Campbell, Oklahoma. The freshman Sooners guard might well be starting to build an Oklahoma legacy, walking in the footsteps of Danielle Robinson, Stacey Dales and Courtney Paris. Coming off the bench on a youthful Oklahoma team, Campbell averaged 21.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in wins last week over Kansas and Oklahoma State. She finished the latter game with 20 points and 12 rebounds for her first career double-double. She has averaged 16.2 points per game since junior forward Joanna McFarland went out with a broken jaw.
Kentucky. The Wildcats (21-3) had won 10 in a row -- and 13 straight in the SEC -- before falling to LSU 61-51 Sunday. Kentucky opened SEC play this season with four straight road wins before the loss to the Tigers in Baton Rouge, which whittled down their lead in the SEC to 1½ games over Tennessee.
Five names you should know (but probably don't)
Sam Ostarello, Purdue. It was a career night Sunday for the junior Boilermakers forward, who finished with a career-high 21 points and a season-high 13 rebounds in a 77-66 win over the Illini. It was a big performance at a big time for Ostarello, who is averaging 8.3 points a game. Purdue was able to maintain its half-game lead over Ohio State in the Big Ten.
Tianna Hawkins, Maryland. Hawkins scored a career-high 23 points and pulled down nine rebounds in the No. 8 Terrapins' important 64-56 win over No. 23 Georgia Tech on Monday. Hawkins made 11 of 13 shots from the field.
Markel Walker, UCLA. Walker is the only player on the floor for the injury-depleted Bruins who saw major minutes before this season, and she's playing like a leader. She posted a triple-double Saturday against Washington State, the Pac-12's first triple-double since 2004. Walker finished with 14 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists.
St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies made this list a few weeks ago, but now it's official. St. Bonaventure is ranked for the first time in school history, coming into this week's Associated Press poll at No. 25 with a 22-2 record and an 11-game win streak. Only Baylor and Notre Dame have more total wins this season.
Asya Bussie, West Virginia. Bussie's 18-point, 11-rebound performance pushed West Virginia to a 66-50 upset win over No. 20 Louisville on Saturday. The Mountaineers have won five of six and will need the momentum over the next two weeks, facing Notre Dame, Rutgers and DePaul in that stretch.