The Big 12 men have knocked the Atlantic Coast Conference and the former Big East off the top two rungs of college basketball this season and taken over the top spot as the country’s premier basketball league. That’s a position the Big 12 has been close to several times in the past, but prior to the season wasn’t quite able to reach the summit.
Being the top basketball conference in the land is something new to the men, but not to the Big 12 women, who have worn that mantle a number of years over the past decade or so.
It didn’t hurt having the best woman player in college basketball for three years running in Baylor’s Brittney Griner, and the Bears continue to outpace the rest of the conference in the national rankings and the league standings. Women’s basketball contrinues to be a strong suit in terms of the Big 12’s national reputation and standing as one of the elite conferences in the sport.
Here are some other newsworthy highlights to be aware of and in the know about women’s basketball this season in the Big 12 as March Madness, the much-anticipated third season of college basketball, approaches:
- Three conference teams are currently ranked in the AP poll and four in the USA Today weekly rankings: AP – Baylor 7, SOklahoma State 12, West Virginia 13; USAT – Baylor 6, Oklahoma State 12, West Virginia 20, Iowa State 23.
- Six Big 12 women’s teams are ranked in the top 48 in RPI: Baylor 16, Texas 20, West Virginia 23, Oklahoma State 25, Oklahoma 37 and Iowa State 48.
- Baylor has the most wins (197) since the Big 12 was formed in 1996-97, but Oklahoma owns the most conference championships (6).
- Iowa State averages 9,700 in attendance at women’s home games, that is the second highest in the country.
- The Kansas women made 9 of 19 three-point attempts (47.4 percent) in the Lady Jayhawks’ win over Oklahoma. KU has shot better than 40 percent behind the three-point line six time so far this season.
- Oklahoma State’s Tiffany Bias played all 40 minutes of the Lady Cowgirls’ two-point win last week over Kansas. She has done that in nine games this season and has started 100 consecutive games in her college career.
- West Virginia senior guard Taylor Palmer scored her 1,000th career point last weekend. She is the 30th West Virginia women’s player in history to do so.
- The Texas men are one of the best rebounding teams in the Big 12, and the Lady Lonbghorns are following suit. The UT women have outrebounded their opponents in 20 of 23 games this season.
- Oklahoma head coach Sheri Coale has 296 career wins. That is the most for a Division I coach, man or woman, with fewer than 20 years as a head coach.
- Baylor’s Odyssey Sims is the country’s top scorer in women’s basketball, averaging 30.2 points per game.