KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- In the first nine years of the Big 12, the Texas A&M women won a total of 26 conference basketball games
and never finished higher than ninth.
In the past two years, the Aggies have won 24 Big 12 games,
including a 13-3 record last season to tie Oklahoma for first.
They return all five starters, 10 of 12 lettermen and are
predicted to win the conference crown this season.
"Can we live up to all the hype and expectations?" Texas A&M
coach Gary Blair said Tuesday at the Big 12 women's basketball
media day. "That is what we're coaching for."
SWEARING OFF LAST PLACE: -- Missouri coach Cindy Stein isn't
happy that the Big 12 coaches picked her Tigers last in the
The Tigers return just one starter from a team that went 5-11
and finished 10th in the Big 12 last season.
"I had to gather myself, because I understand why, but I don't
like it," Stein said.
BAYLOR'S NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP HELPS: The Big 12 men have never
produced a national basketball championship, but the women have -
"I think when Baylor did that, it totally changed our league
forever," Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. "We've had
All-American players. We've had a litany of Hall of Fame coaches.
There's nothing we don't have, except for that. When Baylor did it,
it's like, `OK, we can get that out of the way and move on."'
Senior guard Angle Tisdale is the only Lady Bear remaining from
that national title team.
NOT THE USUAL FRESHMAN: Krysten Boogaard, a 6-foot-5 freshman
from Canada, is the tallest Kansas player and comes from an
"She played internationally with the Canadian National Team in
the summer and was not on campus in June and July, which would have
helped us," Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson said. "She's long.
She's lanky. She's in the middle of the pack when we run sprints.
She's a physical kid. She has two brothers that play in the NHL and
one that's a fighter, so she knows how to throw the elbows around a
PLEASE, ANYBODY BUT DUKE: After coaching at Duke the past 15
years, coach Gale Goestenkors has replaced Jody Conradt at Texas.
What would Goestenkors' reaction be if she had to meet Duke in the
"I wouldn't feel good at all," she said. "We were actually
scheduled to play Duke this year and I took it off the schedule. I
felt it would just be too hard for everybody involved. There are a
lot of emotions there. I still feel very close and always will with
the team at Duke, so I didn't want to put any of us through that."