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Baylor Women's Basketball

Collen and Bickle meet with the media ahead of bout with HCU

December 3, 2022
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For the first time since falling to No. 17 (No. 22 at the time) Michigan 84-75 in the Gulf Coast Showcase, head coach Nicki Collen and forward Caitlin Bickle met with the media on Friday morning. With Bickle missing the final minutes against the Wolverines after fouling out as her emotions got the best of her, she acknowledged the mistake like any good leader would.

“Honestly, I should know better. I went into the locker room afterward and was upset with myself more than anything,” said Bickle. “I told the team that was on me and that I need to be better as a fifth-year senior. Moving forward, that's not going to happen again.”

Last season Bickle was utilized more as a role player than a key contributor, but that isn’t the case for her this season. As the Bears continue to battle roster adversity, Bickle knows that she has to grow her role in order for this team to make a push come March.

“I feel like I’ve always not necessarily played a backseat role, but the glue player role and not ever realized how important what I’m doing is out there with all of the talented bigs we’ve had,” said Bickle. “Moving forward, I need to continue to do whatever I can to stay on the court to help my team and do what the coaches ask.”

Over the course of last week’s tournament, Baylor had an opportunity to face two different ranked opponents, which helped expose some strengths and weaknesses. A majority of the Bear’s strengths came through on the offensive end of the court, while the struggles came defensively and on the boards.

One player who received high praise from Coach Collen for their offensive production was Jaden Owens.

“We had a really, really good offensive weekend. We moved the ball well and Jaden (Owens) proved that she can be a third-scoring guard for us,” said Collen. “Sarah (Andrews) is going to get each team's best perimeter defender. Ja’Mee (Asberry) is getting the second best—and Jaden is getting the third best and she’s massacring them.”

The biggest concern for Collen coming out of the tournament was the toughness of the team—and their continued struggles with offensive rebounding.

“We have to be tougher. We’ve lost two games where we’ve given up too many offensive rebounds down the stretch when you look at Maryland and Michigan,” said Collen. “Some of those were dead-ball rebounds where we couldn’t squeeze it.”

“You know, it’s a minute and a half to go with a two-point lead and we don’t get an offensive rebound and they score—we have to be tougher and we have to fight in the paint.”

Baylor has yet to play a game with their full roster available, which has led to the staff having to adjust their game plans and coaching schemes towards a guard-oriented roster. While it wasn’t exactly how the staff envisioned the team looking in the offseason, Collen sees some pros and cons to having to play small ball more than anticipated.

“There is good and there is bad about it. Last season we played three guards all last year, so certainly there is comfort for me having two good ball handlers — and a third capable this season,” said Collen. “Right now we can’t post up our big three and can’t get spacing at times, but you try to look at it as how do we take advantage of this lineup.”

Collen was able to add some insight on the eligibility issues surrounding Dre Edwards and the injury to Aijah Blackwell, but neither will be back this weekend.

“We have hope that Dre can play this season from a waiver perspective, but there is no timetable on her availability. As I’ve said before, she has to get both academic and athletic waivers,” said Collen. “She has to finish a class this semester and we have to push a waiver through, then we have to send an athletic waiver through Kentucky.”

“As far as Aijah, she’s rehabbing. She is day-to-day to some degree, but not day-to-day like you can see her tomorrow,” said Collen. “Different people respond differently in these situations. I wish I could say more, but I’m honestly not legally in a position to say — we hope to have her back sooner rather than later.”

Baylor will be back in action on Sunday in the Ferrell Center as they host Houston Christian (3-3) for a 2:00 p.m. tipoff.

 

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Collen and Bickle meet with the media ahead of bout with HCU

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