Baylor to face Final Four teams

Brittney Griner and defending national champion Baylor will face a loaded schedule in 2012-13.

Baylor's schedule, released Thursday, includes nonconference games against 2012 Final Four participants Notre Dame, Stanford and Connecticut. The Lady Bears also will take on national powerhouses Tennessee and Kentucky.

Led by Griner, Baylor went 40-0 last season, completing the first 40-win season in NCAA history and winning its second national title. Although Griner, the reigning player of the year, and the rest of Baylor's starting lineup will return for 2012-13, Lady Bears coach Kim Mulkey is looking forward to the "aggressive schedule."

"After posting a 40-0 record last season and having all five starters returning, we felt we needed to assemble an extremely challenging nonconference schedule, one that will prepare us for the rigors of the always competitive Big 12 Conference season and NCAA championship play," Mulkey said in a statement released by the school.

"We have certainly done that; it is the most aggressive schedule we've put together. Our fans and basketball fans nationwide will get to see us compete against the best."

After opening its title defense on Nov. 9 against Lamar, Baylor will host Kentucky four days later. The Lady Bears also will participate in the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu, where they will face Stanford on Nov. 16.

Baylor's schedule also features a trip to South Bend on Dec. 5, when the Lady Bears will take on the Fighting Irish in a rematch of the 2012 NCAA championship game. Baylor takes a break from Big 12 play with a visit to Connecticut on Feb. 18.