- Mechelle Voepel covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.
The Baylor women’s basketball program is dropping the “Lady” from its nickname and will be known as just the Bears, like the rest of the school’s athletic teams, it was announced Friday.
Other women’s sports teams at the school had gone to the Bears nickname in previous years. Under new coach Nicki Collen, who took over in May when Kim Mulkey departed for LSU, the women’s basketball team now will do the same.
“Baylor women’s basketball has solidified itself as one of Baylor’s most remarkable and celebrated programs,” the school said in a statement. “While the use of Lady Bears is still very much a part of the program’s decorated history, in an effort to be more consistent with the current nomenclature of the other 18 Baylor sport programs, the team will now be referred to as simply the Bears.
“This evolution is unique in that it creates consistency among Baylor teams while also highlighting the individual sport and contributions of its athletes and coaches.”
The use of “Lady” with sports teams has been a divisive issue over the years, and many programs who used it in the 1970s in the early days of women’s college athletics got rid of it, some as early as the 1980s. The vast majority of colleges no longer use it for any of their women’s teams.
The only Big 12 women’s team that now still uses “Lady” as part of its nickname is Texas Tech, which goes by Lady Raiders. Oklahoma State uses Cowgirls for its women’s team, as the men are the Cowboys.
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