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From left to right: David and Julie Dellin, their two boys,
Too Hot To Pass Up ("Matt"), and the Select World Champion in Western Horsemanship (2007)
I'm the Baylor Bear in the white uniform blocking out #32!
I'm the rider on #306, "Too Hot To Pass Up" (Matt)
· Professor, Political Science
· 5A-9 Faculty Hall
Online Course Syllabi
· "American National Government" POL140 (Spring 2006)
· "Press & Politics" JMC/POL344 (Spring 2008)
· "Campaigns and Elections" POL345 (Spring 2008)
· “Principles and Methods of Research” POL360(Fall 2008)
· "Political Parties and Pressure Groups" POL440 (Fall 2007)
· "Political Behavior" POL460 (Spring 2007)
· "Presidential Elections" POL480 (Fall 2004)
I'm drinking from the can; Rachel, from the bottle.
That's me on the left! Who is that handsome guy on the right?
NDIANAPOLIS, April 5 - Baylor University, which only five years ago had no tradition and even less visibility in women's basketball, completed a remarkable emergence on Tuesday night by winning its first national championship.
In a season of newcomers, when a familiar power like Connecticut lost its dominance and another one, Tennessee, failed to reach the final, Baylor defeated another first-timer in the N.C.A.A. title game, Michigan State, by 84-62 before 28,937 at the RCA Dome.
The Lady Bears (33-3) built a 32-13 lead in the first half with superior perimeter shooting, rebounding, bench strength, agility, patience and resolve. Forward Emily Niemann entered the game shortly after an awkward start for the Lady Bears and drained five 3-pointers in the first half, finishing with 19 points.
Center Steffanie Blackmon contributed 22 points in an overpowering performance by Baylor's front line. But it was the all-American forward Sophia Young who controlled the game with 26 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Although she has played organized basketball for only six years, the 6-foot-1 Young moved with a brilliant gracefulness through Michigan State's matchup zone, flowing through the Spartans' grasp like water.
Each time Michigan State (33-4) attempted a comeback, the Lady Bears counterpunched effectively. The Spartans overcame a 16-point deficit in the national semifinals against Tennessee, but Baylor was too steady and poised to come undone. The Lady Bears outrebounded Michigan State by 45-22, grabbed a 17-0 edge in second-chance points and held a 29-3 advantage in bench scoring.
The play that said everything about Baylor's pre-eminence came with 10 minutes 27 seconds remaining. Young put Baylor up by 57-40 with a free throw, missed her second attempt, chased the ball down on the sideline, saved it and later knifed inside for a layup to make it 59-40.
Baylor's championship was the first for a team that had not won a women's title since 1999, when Purdue beat Duke, suggesting that parity is growing and that a couple of dynastic teams may no longer reliably control the sport.
"Parity is becoming more obvious in the women's game," Baylor Coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson said: "You see teams in the tournament you haven't heard about before. That's got to be good for the game."
The championship won by the Lady Bears carried significance on a number of levels. First, it established Mulkey-Robertson as perhaps the next great coach in the women's game. She is the first to win a women's national championship both as a player and a coach.
When she arrived at Baylor in 2000, the Lady Bears had won only seven games the previous season and had never been to the N.C.A.A. tournament.
Now Mulkey-Robertson has built a national championship, the splendid culmination of a playing and coaching career that has produced an astounding number of titles: four Louisiana state championships while playing at Hammond High School, two national titles as a player at Louisiana Tech, another as an assistant coach there and a gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
"I've managed to surround myself with people who make me look good," she said with a modesty that belied her tenacity.
Tuesday's victory also provided much-needed good news for a university that faced humiliation and grief two summers ago, when a player on Baylor's men's basketball team, Patrick Dennehy, was murdered and a teammate, Carlton Dotson, was accused of killing him. A trial is set for this summer.
"This is a lot of positive publicity for our school," Mulkey-Robertson said. "We're on a stage as big as you can get."
The way Baylor built this victory could also have repercussions regarding the architecture of college basketball teams. The foundation of this team was not constructed of high school all-Americans, but with determination and serendipity.
Mulkey-Robertson is intensely driven, and she had the fortune to have her star player come through the transom, like an unexpected package announcing that she had won a prize.
Young, the team leader in scoring and rebounding, came to the United States six years ago as a foreign-exchange high school student from the island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean. By chance, Mulkey-Robertson learned about her before any other recruiters did.
Blackmon, the starting center, grew up in suburban Dallas and was lured to Baylor by the force of Mulkey-Robertson's personality and a desire to build something grand from scratch.
"I just felt in my heart good things were going to happen," Blackmon said. "I love to be part of something where I can say, 'I helped do this.' "
Baylor played nervously at the beginning, committing four turnovers and missing a layup before making its first basket. But Niemann came off the bench less than two minutes into the game and settled the Lady Bears with a pair of 3-pointers, giving Baylor a 6-2 lead that it never relinquished.
Once the Spartans drew to 12-8, the Lady Bears fired off 20 of the next 25 points, their lead expanding to 32-13 and eventually broadening into the inevitability of a championship.
"The outside shooting by Niemann was really critical to their overall confidence and opening the inside," Michigan State Coach Joanne P. McCallie said of Baylor. "Their post players did a terrific job. That was the story of the game."