November 1, 2023 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: Baylor head coach Nicki Collen talks Big 12 title hopes, Sarah Andrews

Howard and Nicki discuss the upcoming season and improved depth on the Bears' roster

In the latest episode of the Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast, host Howard Megdal previewed the upcoming season with Baylor coach Nicki Collen. Her Bears, who are No. 19 in the Associated Press poll and No. 12 in The Next’s preseason rankings, are looking to contend for a Big 12 title before another massive shift in conference dynamics.

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After a quick recap of the WNBA Finals, the two started the conversation discussing Baylor’s depth. The Bears had several players injured throughout the 2022-23 season including preseason all-conference selection Sarah Andrews. They also added preseason Newcomer of the Year Jada Walker as a transfer out of Kentucky.

“I think we can do some of the things I thought we were going to be able to do that we really had to scrap,” Collen said. “You go in with this idea of what you want to do and the delay actions and the flow actions and what we can do with bigs that can handle and pass on the perimeter. And all of a sudden you’re like, ‘Okay, I can’t do that now.’ And so I think we navigated that last year, but I think it’s made us all the better going into this year.”

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Collen also has the benefit of two returning sophomores who stepped up and gained really valuable experience in Darianna Littlepage-Buggs and Bella Fontleroy.

“She started slow, but really picked up steam from the arc as the season went along, Collen said of Fontleroy. “You know, we started the season playing her all September and October at the three and by the end of the year, she was guarding nothing but fives you know and single-handedly played a huge role in our comeback against Alabama in terms of shotmaking and key rebounds. And so you know, I think she has the ability to go back and play the three and really get to mismatches in the post.”

On Littlepage-Buggs, she remarked, “She uses her length, and her footwork to play off and around people, as opposed to through them. And so she may not get to the line a ton, but she’s going to get to the line because she’s going to get on the offensive glass, she’s going to take it up, you know, so So I think her growth is going to come, you know, as she gets better off the bounce in that mid-range game.”

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