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Baylor’s Nicki Collen pushes back on WaPo profile’s shot at women’s basketball program: ‘Nothing is withering’

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Baylor Bears women’s basketball coach Nicki Collen had a different take on The Washington Post’s profile of LSU’s Kim Mulkey after a close loss to USC in the Sweet 16.

The story described Baylor as “no longer among the sport’s upper tier, another structure abandoned and left to wither” in the wake of Mulkey’s departure. Collen took over for Mulkey and has made the tournament in each of her first three seasons.

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Nicki Collen of the Baylor Bears reacts during the USC Trojans game in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at Moda Center on March 30, 2024, in Portland, Oregon. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

“I’m not afraid to say I was really, really offended by the article that came out,” Collen said. “I didn’t read any of it. I didn’t read any of it. Don’t know what happened, but nothing’s withering in Waco.

“Nothing is withering in Waco. And we’re going to do it our way, and it’s going to be just as good. But nothing is withering, and we are not not a first-tier team, and you can’t say we are. You can’t get to the Sweet 16 and take a No. 1 seed down to the wire in a one-possession game and say anything is withering in Waco.”

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Nicki Collen vs Vanderbilt

Nicki Collen and Jana Van Gytenbeek of the Baylor Bears against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the first round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at Cassell Coliseum on March 22, 2024, in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Ryan Hunt/Getty Images)

For what it’s worth, Collen only wrapped up her third season with the Bears. The Sweet 16 matchup against No. 1-seeded USC was the furthest the team has gotten under Collen. But Mulkey, in her first three seasons, only made it as far as the second round once. She also had the team in the WNIT in 2003.

“There’s a lot blooming, I’m not going to say withering,” Collen added. “There’s some stuff blooming in Waco. If he wants to come do an article and come to Waco and write about it next year, he’s welcome.”

Collen was the head coach of the Atlanta Dream from 2018 to 2020. She was named the 2018 WNBA Coach of the Year in 2018.

Nicki Collen at the Sweet 16

Nicki Collen of the Baylor Bears leads practice ahead of the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight rounds of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament on March 29, 2024, in Portland. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

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Before that, she served as an assistant with the Connecticut Sun and with several collegiate programs. She played college ball at Purdue and Marquette.

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