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Sports >  Gonzaga women

Key matchup: Ole Miss’ Angel Baker has had NCAA Tournament success with Wright State

March 16, 2023 Updated Thu., March 16, 2023 at 8:35 p.m.

By Jim Allen For The Spokesman-Review

STANFORD, Calif. – Two years ago, Angel Baker had just led the Wright State Raiders to a surprising run to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

But her coach was leaving for a new job at Memphis, which was just the opening Mississippi coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin needed.

“I called her coach and I said, ‘Listen, is this kid going with you? What’s the deal?’” McPhee-McCuin said.

Told that Baker was ready for a bigger stage, McPhee-McCuin brought Baker to Oxford, Mississippi. A year later, Baker was Southeastern Conference Sixth Woman of the Year and the Rebels were back in the NCAAs for the first time in 15 years.

This year, Baker and the Rebels brought it up another notch as she led them to a third-place finish in the SEC and made the all-conference first team.

Her 15.5 points a game lead the Rebels and she adds 5.5 rebounds despite standing just 5-foot-8. Baker also shoots 45% from the field and is the top long-range threat (36%) on a squad that shoots just 29.4% overall.

“She’s really good, and she can score it from all three levels, which is a challenge,” said Gonzaga coach Lisa Fortier, who must deal with Baker in a first-round NCAA Tournament game Friday night. “You like to defend players who are more limited than she is, and she’s just not, is the reality of it.

“We’re going to put whoever we think is the best matchup available. If switching happens, it could be any of us, though.”

Baker’s 82 assists are second on the team behind Myah Taylor.

“She’s been a joy to coach,” McPhee-McCuin said.

“Angel is an incredible human being,” McPhee-McCuin said. “Just very humble, very intelligent. People don’t get to see that because they just see her on the court.

“She’s a ball of fire. But she’s just really an awesome teammate, too. So she has really made my job easy, because I’ve been able to push her and she’s allowed me to do that.”

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