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Womens' basketball: Big 12 race remains wide open

by Jenni Carlson Published: October 23, 2008


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One of those teams was OSU, but the Cowgirls are sixth in the preseason poll.

Sixth.

Still, when folks ask Budke how he feels about being picked that low in the poll, he says, "Being picked sixth in the No. 1 league in the country isn’t all that bad.”

This is a conference that has several teams that could contend for a national title. The top six teams in the preseason poll have a legitimate shot.

You want depth? The Big 12 has that, too. All but one of the teams played in a postseason tournament last season.

You want players? Most of the league’s best return, and no one is better in the post than Courtney Paris or better at the point than Andrea Riley.

You want coaches? Kim Mulkey at Baylor, Gail Goestenkors at Texas, Blair and Coale represent some of the game’s best. Heck, the league has such good coaching that two assistants are in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, Leon Barmore at Baylor and Kamie Ethridge at Kansas State.

"You put all that stuff together, it means you have a really good conference that has a chance to impact the sport on a national basis,” Fennelly said.

But first, they have to sort things out amongst themselves.

Who knows what that could look like come March?

"We feel like we have what it takes to compete at the top of the Big 12,” Ashley Paris said. "But we’re gonna have to earn it.”

In this conference, every team must.

Jenni Carlson: 475-3314