Baylor became the first basketball team in NCAA history to finish a season at 40-0, defeating Notre Dame, 80-61, in the women’s championship game Tuesday night. But this might just be only the beginning for Coach Kim Mulkey’s squad.
Though the Bears aren’t yet halfway to Connecticut’s all-time Division I record of 90 straight wins, that mark already appears within their reach. The Huskies reached their mark with a pair of undefeated seasons in 2008-09 and 2009-10 followed by 12 more victories the next season before losing to Stanford on Dec. 30, 2010.
A second straight perfect season doesn’t seem like much of a stretch for Baylor, which won Tuesday night with a starting lineup featuring four juniors and a sophomore. And by far the most important member of that lineup -- 6-foot-8 junior phenom Brittney Griner -- has already decided to return for her senior season.
“I’m staying, I made a commitment,” Griner said Saturday. “I’m going to stay here until my time’s up, so all the speculations of me leaving early are false.”
Unlike men’s basketball, almost all women players stay with their college teams through all four years of eligibility. So Baylor could very well roll out the same starting lineup next season as it did this season, making another undefeated campaign a distinct possibility.
If the Bears accomplish that feat they would then have to scrape up 10-plus more wins to start the following season without Griner and most of the players on this roster. Even so, they should still have one very important part of the team in Mulkey, who earned her second NCAA title as a coach despite the recent revelation that she has been diagnosed with Bell’s palsy.
So what do you think? Is Connecticut’s record in jeopardy? Vote in the poll, then leave a comment explaining why you voted the way you did.