Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey stressed today that regular-season games between her team and Texas A&M will cease once the Aggies join the Southeastern Conference.
Mulkey compared playing A&M as an SEC member to sleeping with an ex-husband after he asks for a divorce. She referenced the words of A&M president R. Bowen Loftin, who equated his school’s move to the SEC to ending a failed marriage with the Big 12, calling the relationship “over.”
“If a man wants to divorce me and says our relationship has no value to him, and then he asks me if he can sleep with me, the answer is, ‘No,’” Mulkey said during the Big 12 basketball media days. “We’re not going to play them any more because they decided that playing us was not important to them.”
Mulkey’s stance means this year’s schedule will mark the final regular-season meetings between A&M, the defending NCAA women’s champion, and Baylor, the 2005 NCAA women’s champion and a preseason favorite to win this year’s title. The teams play Feb. 11 in Waco and Feb. 27 in College Station.
A&M coach Gary Blair said eliminating the Baylor rivalry “would not be my choice” because the games generate sellouts and have a comparable intensity to the Duke-North Carolina rivalry in men’s basketball. But it is becoming clear to Blair that the Aggies will be hard-pressed to find games against former Big 12 teams once they move to the SEC on July 1.
Texas coach Gail Goestenkors said she has no plans to schedule A&M in non-conference play, either. Blair said any cold shoulders from in-state rivals in the Big 12 involve recruiting implications and he has an antidote.
“There are about … 12 other Division I schools in the state of Texas, and I think a lot of them will be glad to play Texas A&M,” Blair said.
Dropping Missouri: Kansas women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson said she would join men’s coach Bill Self in leaving rival Missouri off future non-conference schedules if the Tigers join the SEC. Mizzou’s board of curators meet today and Friday to discuss realignment.
“Our rivalry belongs in the Big 12,” Henrickson said.
Ring it up: A&M coach Gary Blair said players will receive their NCAA championship rings and the NCAA championship banner will be raised to the rafters in Reed Arena at the team’s Nov. 15 game against Louisville.
Reed is ready: Texas coach Gail Goestenkors said the most encouraging aspect of her team’s summer trip to Europe was the performance of Cokie Reed, a 6-4 center who missed last season after undergoing foot surgery in October. Reed averaged 8.4 points per game as a freshman during the 2009-10 season, earning a spot on the Big 12 All-Freshman squad.
“She’s so much better than she was two years ago, there’s no comparison,” Goestenkors said. “She’s going to demand a double team … so she opens things up for (teammates) and she really changes the game for us.”
_ Jimmy Burch