Thursday, October 20, 2011

Big 12 Women's basketball coaches answer realignment questions

At the Big 12 women’s basketball media day, coaches from around the league sat down behind the microphone and dodged the inevitable conference-realignment questions. Though the moves were based on football, women’s basketball was also affected by the changes.

Coaches such as Oklahoma’s Sherri Coale stressed the strength of the conference that sent seven of its 12 teams to the NCAA tournament last season.

“When you play in a league that has the strength that the women’s basketball conference or the Big 12 Conference and women’s basketball has, you don’t want to see that broken up for any reason,” Coale said. “And that’s not good for the game.”

When the conference shrank with the loss of Colorado and Nebraska, the schools changed their schedules to face the 10 remaining schools twice. Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson said that the change would be exciting but difficult.

“From a competitive standpoint, it is even more challenging because of the strength that the southern part of the league has and how talented those teams are,” Henrickson said.

The Jayhawks feature seven players from Texas and one from Oklahoma. Henrickson said the additions of southern games would be more motivating for those athletes and would be a good opportunity for recruiting.

As the conference continues to change, the rivalries that have lasted through the existence of the conference will also be affected.

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