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Baylor In Finals After Win Over Cowgirls
March 08, 2015

By Wendell Barnhouse
Big12Sports.com Correspondent

DALLAS - Maintaining a legacy can be as challenging as building it. Baylor is doing just fine and making it look easy.

The top-seeded Lady Bears have reached the title game of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Championship for the fifth consecutive year and the eighth time overall. The Lady Bears have won six titles, losing in the final just once (2009).

Baylor had little trouble winning its semifinal game with No. 4 seed Oklahoma State Sunday afternoon. The Lady Bears went on a 20-6 run to end the first half and posted a 69-52 victory. The Lady Bears will face No.6 seed Texas, which defeated No. 2 seed Oklahoma, 59-46, in the second semifinal.

Since 2011, Baylor has won five consecutive regular-season titles and are gunning for its fifth straight Big 12 Championship. During that time, the Lady Bears are 97-5 against Big 12 teams in the regular season and the league tourney.

“It's amazing the dynasty that’s been built here, the tradition,” Baylor’s Nina Davis said. “We don’t want to be the team to end it.”

“We just want to carry on what’s been started,” Alexis Prince said.

Prince scored 10 of her 12 points in the first half and helped Baylor jump to a fast start against a fired up opponent. Oklahoma State got eight quick points from center LaShawn Johnson and trailed 20-15 midway through the first half.

But then Davis closed like Mariano Rivera. She scored 11 of Baylor’s 20 points as the Lady Bears took control with a 20-6 run to close the half. Baylor made 8-of-13 shots while the Cowgirls were just 3-of-14 during that stretch.

“We played with a lot of energy today,” Davis said. “We had a lot of fire, we had a lot of emphasis on playing defense. I'm just proud of the way that we kept the lead this time, we didn't let them come back in. We kept playing hard for the first and second half and we maintained the lead today.”

In two Big 12 Championship games, Davis has 59 points and has made 22 of 30 shots.

“She showed why she's the best player in the league,” Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said. “Conventional thinking says that when you couldn't guard them in man, you go to zone and we did that. She's probably more effective against the zone than she is against the man.”

In the quarterfinal victory over Kanas State, Baylor’s lead dipped to seven points late. Oklahoma State was never able to make a charge. The Cowgirls’ offense was short circuited as leading scorers Brittney Martin combined for just 15 points. Martin and Donohoe combined to miss 14 of their first 15 shots. Martin didn’t score until 16:36 remained and the Cowgirls trailed by 20.

“I think the main thing is they're just incredibly long, they're all fast, they're all athletes,” Martin said of Baylor.

“I think the main thing is they're just incredibly long, they're all fast, they're all athletes,” Martin said of Baylor.

 “We probably needed to be in a situation where we play close to a perfect game and I don't think we did that,” Littell said.

The Lady Bears will face Texas, the first time those two schools have met in the Big 12 Championship. Baylor swept the season series and figures to be a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Winning another trophy, frolicking in confetti and cutting down nets Monday in the American Airlines Center is the short-term goal.

“I know they’re as competitive as the other teams,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “They may not be as experienced and certainly they’re not as mature and they’re not older; they’re younger, but I don’t know that their vibe is any different. They made it this far, let’s go win it.”

 

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