Country singer Adkins takes in Baylor's victory

Country singer Adkins takes in Baylor's victory

Published Apr. 9, 2012 6:27 a.m. ET

Country singer Trace Adkins thinks Baylor coach Kim Mulkey is a rock star.

He has ever since their days together at Louisiana Tech, when he had a little crush on her.

Back then, Mulkey was larger than life on the La. Tech campus, leading the Lady Techsters to the 1982 national championship as the starting point guard.

Now, Mulkey's once again the toast of the town, this time in Waco, Texas.


Especially now, after the Bears finished off an undefeated season with an 80-61 win over Notre Dame in the title game Tuesday night.

''These girls have won a piece of my heart,'' said Adkins, who had a seat right behind the Baylor bench. ''This is the first time in a long time I've been invested in a team this much. Kim makes them listen to my music, which I'm sure they're sick of by now.''

At concerts, Adkins used to dedicate his song, ''One in a Million,'' to a girl he admired in college.

Turns out, it was a shout-out to Mulkey.

''Guess she saw that on YouTube,'' Adkins said, smiling.


FAMILIAR LOOK: The sophomore guard sitting on the bench with her hair in pigtails was the spitting image of Baylor's Kim Mulkey, back when the coach was a player.

And that was precisely the point.

Makenzie Robertson borrowed her mom's look from back in the day. Mulkey wore her hair just like Mulkey did at Louisiana Tech.

Big games simply call for braids.

''This is exactly how she wore her hair every game and (this look) was on purpose,'' said Robertson, who saw two minutes of action.


FUN-LOVING GRINER: The 6-foot-8 Brittney Griner is just a giant kid at heart.

The talented Baylor junior glides around campus on her longboard (she definitely sticks out), wants to try surfing (once she learns to swim better) and can't wait to pick up snowboarding (but promised coach Kim Mulkey she won't until after graduation).

Griner also loves kayaking, hiking and has a craving for bacon, along with all things sweet.

''There's so much to me that people just don't know,'' Griner said. ''I'm an outdoors person. I'm adventurous, maybe reckless. I'm a thrill seeker.''

But there may be no bigger thrill than this: Winning a national title, the first at Baylor since 2005.

Griner had a monster game against Notre Dame, scoring 26 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

With her title, Griner has cemented her legacy as one of the college game's all-time greats.

Not that she views it quite that way.

''I wanted (the title) because this is what our team wanted, and this is what we promised coach when we got here,'' said Griner, who reclined in the Pepsi Center locker stall that usually belongs to Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson. ''I had nothing to do with validating what type of player I am. That was the last thing in the back of my mind.''


MINOR IRRITATION: Despite a little light sensitivity and buzzing in her ears, Baylor coach Kim Mulkey is feeling no real effects from her bout with Bell's palsy. She was diagnosed just before the Final Four with the nerve disorder that's left her face partially paralyzed.

However, there's nothing wrong with her voice, even if she doesn't always feel like she can get her point across.

''I feel frustrated because I want to say things as quickly as I normally say them without spitting and all that stuff,'' Mulkey said. ''But as Odyssey (Sims) told me, `Coach, we hear you loud and clear.' And that's what I don't realize because I can only hear my ears ringing. It feels like they can't hear my message. And they told me: `We hear ya, we hear ya.'''

As for her eyes, Mulkey has been wearing shades to shield them from the glare.

''They're red and irritable,'' she said. ''But I see the scoreboard.''

And it never looked better after Tuesday night's win.


ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENT: Baylor senior Terran Condrey was huffing and puffing early in the second half in a win over Stanford on Sunday, wondering why she felt so exhausted.

Oh yeah, Condrey suddenly remembered: She was at 5,280 feet.

Until that moment, Condrey didn't even think about the thin air in the Mile High City.

And then, boom, a wave of fatigue swept over her.

''Seriously, all of a sudden, I felt like I couldn't breathe out there,'' she said.

She quickly caught her second wind, though, as she scored 10 of her 13 points in the final half to help Baylor advance to the title game.

Even though Condrey has had a few more days at the higher elevation, she's no closer to becoming acclimated.

''Still working on it,'' Condrey said as she sat in her locker stall at Pepsi Center, the one usually occupied by Denver Nuggets point guard Andre Miller. ''There's nothing you can really do to get through it - just keep running and keep playing defense.''


POST-HOOPS CAREER: There was a time when Notre Dame junior guard Skylar Diggins wanted to be a doctor.

Fitting, since she plays with a surgeon-like precision on the court.

But she's had a change and wants to step into the broadcast booth once she steps off the court.

''As much as I hate what they say sometimes, I really want to be an analyst,'' Diggins said. ''I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon out of high school. I shadowed our former team doctor and held bones and was all in.

''Then when I got in Notre Dame pre-med, I wasn't too sure anymore so I went into the business school. But my dream is to work for ESPN one day.''