By Krista Pirtle
The No. 1 Baylor Lady Bears earned a share of the Big 12 conference title with a 56-51 win over a physical Texas Tech team Saturday at the Ferrell Center.
“Well it’s a good sign when you win, but even tonight if we had lost the game, you need environments like this to prepare you,” Mulkey said. “It was two good teams playing their hearts outs. We made enough plays down the stretch to win it. When I look at it, we shot poorly from the foul line. Could it have been fatigue? I don’t know. Late in the year everybody’s fatigued.”
Baylor proved it was more than junior Brittney Griner as junior Destiny Williams flashed to the offside block, open from the double and triple teams Griner drew.
“I wasn’t finishing like I should have been,” Griner said.
Both finished with double-doubles: Griner had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Williams had 16 points and 10 rebounds.
The first half ended with Baylor trailing by five and getting beat on the boards 20-14.
“Against those guys you try to play the percentages and to get them to play as hard as they can,” Texas Tech head coach Kristy Curry said. “I thought we played really smart. As far as the execution, we were willing to take shots and make plays.”
Despite 12 turnovers by the Lady Raiders, Baylor could not finish its shots, shooting 34 percent from the field. Sophomore Odyssey Sims only had a point to her name as she went into the locker room for halftime.
Tech shot 50 percent from the floor, hitting six of eight from downtown.
“They spread the floor and hit threes,” Mulkey said. “Those threes were contested. It’s supposed to be like that in February. That basketball team was really good, and I thought that our team responded and played as hard as they could to win a basketball game. It’s supposed to be like that. Didn’t Connecticut get beat tonight? Okay, it’s supposed to be like that in February.”
The Lady Bears, however, could not find the bottom of the net from three-point land, going 0-6. After missing the first three free throws, Baylor finished the half perfect from the line.
The second half did not start hot for the Lady Bears as their first points came from a pair of free throws by Hayden.
A minute passed before Baylor would score again.
Senior Terran Condrey ended the Baylor drought from downtown with a triple to start the comeback.
“Well, Terran’s a senior, and you want your seniors to have good senior years,” Mulkey said. “She took five shots and made three of their shots, had a bad turnover late, but she hit some big buckets when we needed them.”
The Lady Bears were up 54-51 with eight seconds left when Texas Tech began to foul out of desperation, sending Griner to the line.
With two swishes, Griner added insurance to the lead, securing a 56-51 victory.
“We only have three [championships], and I’ve been here 12 years,” Mulkey said. “You walk down the hall where this trophy case is and that’s the only three in the building. They’re hard to come by. I will always celebrate the regular season championship over the tournament championship.”
Baylor will be back in action against Texas at 6:30 p.m. today in the Ferrell Center.