The Baylor Bears (28-4) found a way to keep the Oklahoma St. Cowgirls (23-8) at arm's length for pretty much the entire contest. The Lady Bears found a way to close out the game, winning 65-61.
Baylor advances to the championship game against either Texas Longhorns or West Virginia Mountaineers on Monday, March 9th.
"Well, I'm really proud of our team. I thought they competed very hard, said Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell. "Also disappointed because I felt like we had a chance to win the basketball game. We cut it to four a few times, and Davis would get a put-back on her. we didn't make enough free throws. To upset a team of this caliber you've got to make sure that you're sticking easy shots and making free throws, and we didn't do that."
Led by freshman, Nina Davis, Baylor jumped out on the Cowgirls early, leading by as many as nine points in the first half. Odyssey Sims hit a jumper with 8:07 left until halftime to give the Lady Bears a 19-10 lead over Oklahoma State. The Cowgirls responded with a quick 7-2 spurt, cutting Baylor's lead to 21-17 with 6:03 to go in the half.
When you lose by four points, Oklahoma State will look back at their free throw shooting as a reason why they were unable to upset the top seeded Baylor Lady Bears. The Cowgirls missed seven free throws, finishing at 12-of-19 from the charity stripe.
Throughout the second half, the Lady Bears were able to keep the Cowgirls within a 5 to 7 points deficit. Any time the Cowgirls were able to cut it to a two or a three point deficit. Baylor was able to pound the boards, limiting second chance opportunities for the Cowgirls.
Despite losing today, the Cowgirls had six players score at least eight points. Liz Donohoe and LaShawn Jones both had eight points, Roshunda Johnson and Tiffany Bias each had nine points. Kendra Suttles and Brittany Martin both had 11 points for the Cowgirls today.
With 8:14 remaining, Suttles hit a jumper, cutting the Baylor lead to 52-50. Oklahoma State would not get any closer. They were able to cut it to 57-54 off another Suttles basket with 5:30 remaining. Johnson and Robertson hit three straight baskets to push the Baylor lead to 63-57 and secured the Baylor victory.
Baylor held Oklahoma State to just 35.5 percent for the game.
Oklahoma State finishes the Big 12 Tournament with an overall record of 23-8. They're just 5-5 in their last 10 games, and just never found a way to get over the hump against the really good, quality teams. They will be a team that receives a bid to the NCAA Tournament, but the seeding will be a factor and which region they're in will be left to be determined.
"Are there any major BCS leagues that play each other twice," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey asked. "We might be the only two leagues, this league and that one that do it. But what you hope happens is the selection committee understands, wow, let's look at this league they're in and how tough it is and give us a lot of good seeds."
There are some issues to address for the Cowgirls coming into the NCAA Tournament. They'll have to find a way to compete earlier in the first half and then be able to hit their free throws. The Cowgirls are a really good basketball team, but there are those issues to address before it starts.
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