Sixth straight Big 12 title secured
The No. 7 Lady Bears took little effort in defeating the No. 25 Longhorns, 4-1, for the sixth straight time in the Big 12 Championship finals.
For the first time in this year’s tournament, Baylor claimed the double’s point with wins by Diana Nakic and Sona Novakova over Juliana Gajic and Maggie Mellow, 7-4, and by Taylor Ormond and Jelena Stanivuk over Texas’ Krista Damico and Aeriel Ellis, 8-6. The wins followed a 5-8 loss by No. 59 duo Nina Secerbegovic and Karolina Filipiak to No. 54 duo Amanda Craddock and Cierra Gaytan-Leach.
In singles, the No. 3 court finished first, with No. 47 Secerbegovic quickly downing Mello, 6-0, 6-3. Texas’ No. 26 Ellis fought back with an easy upset over No. 11 Novakova at the No. 1 court, 6-2, 6-2.
With the score now 2-1 in favor of the No. 1-seeded Lady Bears, the onus for the championship fell to the remaining eight players. At the fifth court, Filipiak, from a 2-6 first set dropped to Gajic, evened the field with a 6-2 second set and led 3-1 in the third when the tournament ended. No. 116 Stanivuk was not as fortunate at the fourth court, going 6-4, 4-6, in her first two sets against Craddock. Neither match finished before Baylor won the title.
Meanwhile at the No. 6 court, Ormond overcame the Longhorns’ Cierra Gaytan-Leach 7-5, 6-4, bringing Baylor within a single point of victory.
No. 46 Nakic, at the No. 2 court, secured the win with a 6-4, 7-5 tussle with Krista Damico. With the day’s wins, along with two previous singles wins and a doubles win, she was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
By claiming the Big 12 Championship, the Lady Bears earned an automatic team berth in the NCAA tournament; the bracket will be released on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at www.NCAA.com.