Kim Mulkey: when one team clears their bench, the other team should too

As you likely just saw, Baylor beat Georgia Tech 83-68 for the rights to advance to the Elite 8. With about five minutes to go, the Bears lead the Yellowjackets 75-46, and Brittney Griner and several other starters were still in the game. I posed the question “why?” on twitter, and seconds later, Griner threw down a two-handed dunk to make the lead 31 points. Coach Kim Mulkey promptly pulled her and others, and put reserves in (some said the reserves were already at the scorer’s table when Griner dunked).

In the post-game interview, Mulkey said she wasn’t pleased with the performance of the reserves, who let a 30-point lead dwindle to 15. She also seemed to fault Georgia Tech Coach MaChelle Joseph for keeping her starters in the game until the end.

“I don’t believe in that,” Mulkey said. “If you clear your bench, they clear their bench.”

What do hoop fans this of this philosophy? If you’re down by 31 and the winning team finally pulls their starters, do you pull yours?

When should a winning or losing team pull starters and put in reserves?

Civil discussions only.


  1. As I stated on Twitter, it depends on situation, if I'm getting blown out and I know I can't get close, I will let my bench play to give them an opportunity to get some time, but when it comes to Tourney time and there's a chancem I'm keeping my best players in regardless, but it comes down to situation and personnel. She should of kept those comments to herself, I doubt Coaches like Geno or Pat wouldn't of made those comments public especially after they won, but that's her style, I guess!!!

  2. Mulkey being Mulkey! To expect a team to give up because you think your team is going to win is ridiculous! Her post game comments humiliate the other team. She's getting to be haughty and should take some humility pills. Maybe Tennessee will take her down a peg in the regional final.

  3. Not impressed with Mulkey. She has no business telling other coaches how to ply their craft. She did a poor job handling the Griner incident two years ago and this just reinforces it.

    Hope they get smoked. I'll take UConn or Stanford. Anyone but Baylor. GS

  4. Wow! No Love for Baylor…that's ashame…that team works harder than any team I've seen this year!…Ya think there's any chance Kim Mulkey meant well by her comment…maybe she just meant that with a 30 point lead…most coaches would allow lesser used players to get some minutes to get a feel for tournament play….maybe…jsut maybe…that's all she meant…

  5. You play to the final buzzer this time of year. Look at Maryland, coming back from 18 down to win. Maybe if you are #1 in the country and playing Northeastern Directional Teachers Community Tech in your non-conference schedule you empty your bench with five minutes left. In a NCAA Regional Semi-Final, you don't until a minute left. It's demeaning and egotistical that you empty that early against an opponent that worked hard to get there. You just use the whole shot clock on each possession and maybe take a jumper at .01.

    The dunk was uncalled for, as well. Salt in the wound. Coach like you've been there before, Ms. Mulkey.

  6. Mulkey has it all wrong. "When one team clears a bench…that's their business and they have that right" should be the wording here. If Kim jumped off a bridge, would she expect the coach of the other team to do the same?

  7. I am not a coach but I would say that each coach should do what is best for their particular team in each situation. Not all teams are the same. Some have a good bench, others don't. Some coaches want to get the subs some playing time , others don't. I just don't see how one team can ever be expected to do exactly what the other does. There should be no one code.