By Krista Pirtle
Tying a program high 34 wins, the No. 1 Baylor Lady Bears can now check their second goal off the bucket list: Big 12 Tournament Champions.
Baylor defeated Texas A&M soundly 73-50 in what could be the final matchup for the foreseeable future.
The 23-point winning margin is the largest in Big -12 Championship title games.
Junior Destiny Williams and sophomore Odyssey Sims were named to the All-Tournament team, and junior Brittney Griner was named Most Outstanding Player for the second straight year.
Griner did not have many points, but she didn’t need to. Odyssey Sims led the way with a season high 26 points.
“Coach just told me to attack,” Sims said. “We ran our play. It was the high screen. Made it come off, made something happen. I had to either go to the rim or kick it out. And I just kept going until they tried to stop me.”
She was followed by Williams, Griner and junior Jordan Madden with 12, 11 and 10 respectively.
“It’s not Brittney Griner and Baylor,” Griner said. “This is Baylor. We are a team. Everybody pulls together and contributes. I mean, I love games like this, watching my teammates score, and if I catch it, get double-teamed, kick it to them. And I love it. This is a special team and I love my team.”
Williams also grabbed 11 boards for a double-double.
“If you look at what Destiny does around Brittney and through Brittney, she never stops what she’s been asked to do: rebound the ball, score, put back, shoot the jumper at the foul line,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said. “Destiny has done that whether Griner gets four or 10 today.”
The three point line did not impact the game much at all, with A&M hitting a pair and Baylor sinking only one.
Defensively Griner denied six shots, and Odyssey Sims snatched four steals.
Baylor began the game on a 10-0 run before the Aggies scored with 14:24 left in the first half. From then on, Texas A&M played the Lady Bears 18-18, but Baylor was up by 15 at the half and didn’t let up.
“If we would have hit out bunnies and got it down to a nine or 10 point game I think our confidence-the first five minutes of the second half was all Baylor,” Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair said. “And you give them the credit. They’re a great basketball team. Baylor University has had a great year.”
Twenty points came from the charity stripe for Baylor, thanks to entering the bonus with 15:06 to play.
Baylor shot 49 percent from the floor while holding Texas A&M to 27.9 percent on the afternoon.
From the paint Baylor did not have quite the advantage it had in previous games this tournament, only outscoring the Aggies 38-24.
“Well, it’s exciting to win,” Sims said. “We’ve been winning all season. We’ve been successful. But this is great. But now we’re focused on six games. That’s what we’re striving for, and I’m saying we are having fun, but six games is the most important.”
Now the team will focus on perfection with six games standing between it and the title of National Champions.
“I’ve really loved their mindset,” Mulkey said. “They’re not in that locker room high-fiving, oohing and ahhing, going crazy in there. It is more like a business approach. We took care of business here. Let’s go to the men’s game tonight, cheer hard, get on the plane, rest tomorrow, go to pairings Monday, and let’s get ready for what you ultimately want, and that’s the national championship.”