Sports

No. 10 Baylor women being kept close to home to allow young group a chance to grow up

  • Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, center, talks with Odyssey Sims, right, and Makenzie Robertson during a break in the first half of an NCAA college basketball exhibition game against Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Waco Tribune Herald, Rod Aydelotte)

    Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, center, talks with Odyssey Sims, right, and Makenzie Robertson during a break in the first half of an NCAA college basketball exhibition game against Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Waco Tribune Herald, Rod Aydelotte)  (The Associated Press)

  • Baylor coach Kim Mulkey call in a play against Oklahoma City in the first half of an NCAA college basketball exhibition game, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Waco Tribune Herald, Rod Aydelotte)

    Baylor coach Kim Mulkey call in a play against Oklahoma City in the first half of an NCAA college basketball exhibition game, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Waco Tribune Herald, Rod Aydelotte)  (The Associated Press)

Baylor coach Kim Mulkey is purposely keeping her 10th-ranked Lady Bears close to home in nonconference play.

The coach says the schedule allows them to grow up.

Preseason All-America point guard Odyssey Sims is the only returning starter. Two-time AP Player of the Year Brittney Griner and four other seniors from last season are gone.

Baylor opens the season at home Saturday night against Grambling State. They leave Waco only once in their 11 games before Big 12 play starts in January.

In the same early span last year, the Lady Bears played Stanford, Notre Dame, Kentucky and Tennessee — all among the nation's top seven teams to start this season.

The only team from that quartet Baylor plays in the regular season this fall is Kentucky.