17. January 2021

NCAA basketball season goes on because ‘almighty dollar’ trumps health

Mechelle VoepelESPN.com.


Mechelle Voepel beat the WNBA, women’s varsity basketball and other college sports for espnW. Voipel began covering women’s basketball in 1984 and joined ESPN in 1996.

Kim Mulkey, Baylor’s women’s basketball coach, made her debut Saturday in 19 years. December came back to the bench and said she felt good physically after experimenting with COVID-19. But when asked if she feared the season could turn into a pandemic, she was adamant.

The answer is as follows: The season continues. It’s called the almighty dollar, Mulkey said after the Lady Bears lost 75-71 in Waco, Texas, Iowa, ending the longest winning streak in women’s Division I basketball at home by 61 games. The NCAA should get the almighty dollar from the men’s tournament. The almighty dollar is more important than the health and well-being of me, the players or anyone else.

A reading does it, a reading does it. That’s what the CDC says. Everyone’s confused. I’m confused. I’m not comfortable being a coach. I get it. COVID is real. I’m done… Come talk to me. But I don’t know – all the appeals and procedures that are going to take place and make the situation unfamiliar, unpleasant for any program. At Baylor, we’re no different.

Mulkey became infected with VIDOC-19 over Christmas after coming into contact with a family member who tested positive. She missed Baylor’s last game, No. 6 on Jan. 2 at TCU, then arrived on Jan. 4 to join the team for practice after several negative tests.

But after testing positive that day, Baylor’s program continued in its entirety 5. and cancelled the showdown between the Lady Bears and UConn 7. Jan. and postponed the 12 big games against Kansas State (Jan. 10) and Kansas (Jan. 13). Baylor, 8-2, was without guard DeJonai Carrington and attacker Caitlin Bickle on Saturday because those players are still in quarantine.

The rest of the Baylor players came out of the break Friday and had their first practice in two weeks with Malky on the day of the game. She gave the Cyclones all the credit for ending the Lady Bears series and said Baylor could probably beat some of their opponents with so little preparation, but not at Iowa State.

This team has a 3-pointer that will expose us …. This team has a great coach, she says. It was the perfect time for what you saw.

Saturday marked the second time the Cyclones won in Waco; the first time was in 1997, the inaugural season of the Big 12 competition. Mulkey praised Cyclones star Ashley Jones (27 points, 12 rebounds) and his coach Bill Fennelly, who also beat Baylor 57-56 in March in Ames, Iowa. On this play, Joens made the winning free throw to set up the 58th straight. The Lady Bears’ win in the Big 12 regular season.

Baylor’s loss on Saturday ended two of the longest wins in home basketball this week. The Iowa women, who have 42 wins in a row and are second behind Baylor, lost to Ohio State in overtime on Wednesday.

It was a big win for Iowa State (9-4) against a team that has won or shared 12 season titles over the last 10 regular Big ones and won three NCAA championships. Junior Jones’ fullback/forward is the top scorer in the Big 12 with 24.6 points per game. Cyclones Waco’s 1997 victory occurred before he was even born.

It’s really nice when you can get a win like that, Jens said. Everyone did their job, everyone was executed. Knowing that we can compete at the highest level against teams like this gives us the confidence that we will feel throughout the season.

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