OKLAHOMA CITY – The No. 1-seed Lady Bears beat the No. 2-seed Texas Longhorns for the second straight season in the Big 12 tournament championship. Baylor defeated Texas with a decisive 79-63 scoreline on Monday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Baylor is on a blistering 20-game winning streak ahead of an NCAA tournament campaign that will likely have them chosen as a No. 1 seed in its respective region.
Baylor’s regular season ends with just one loss, which came against Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla., in the first game of the season. Since that loss, Baylor has relentlessly pursued its goal of winning the Big 12 title as well as making a deep run in the NCAA tournament.
The No. 4 nationally-ranked Lady Bears’ demolition of No. 6-ranked Longhorns on Monday night exemplified Baylor’s dominance in the Big 12 as well as its viability against top-10 teams.
Before the celebrations, though, Baylor had to take care of the fiesty, upset-minded Longhorns in the championship game. Texas forced a full team effort out of Baylor’s lineup. Four players ended the night with double-digit scoring.
Texas post players Imani Boyette and Kelsey Lang disrupted Baylor’s half-court offense down low.
“I think that at the beginning of the game we came out with a different mind-set and we knew that it would be a tough game tonight not only because we played three games in three days, but because we had already lost to them twice,” Lang said.
Freshmen posts Beatrice Mompremiere and Kalani Brown, who performed well throughout the tournament, were defended aggresively by Boyette and Lang. But Baylor found other ways to score.
Baylor’s point guards were forced to run an effective half-court offense. Sophomore guard Alexis Jones, who was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, tallied eight assists and 16 points. Jones connected with junior forward Nina Davis. Davis executed some clever maneuvers in the paint and led the game in scoring (22 points).
Texas was held to 26-66 (39.4 percent) shooting from the floor while Baylor shot 29-57 (50.9 percent) and 5-10 (50 percent) from three-point range. Jones scored three of those three-pointers and sophomore guard Kristy Wallace and senior guard Niya Johnson had one apiece.
On Texas’ end, the Longhorns had just one player in double figures for scoring. Moreover, the Longhorns lost the rebounding battle 37-33.
Whenever Texas would put a decent series of plays together, Baylor would answer with a run of its own. The Lady Bears dismantled the Longhorns’ every time they started to establish their footing.
“Baylor has the ability to kind of force you to be uncomfortable offensively and force you to do some things that are uncharacteristic, and they’ve been doing this all year long,” Texas head coach Karen Atson said. “To beat a team like them, you have to play every single possession. You can’t miss one. You can’t not go back down the floor. You can’t give up competitive-wise and not reverse the ball because it’s hard.”
The Lady Bears await to see where they will be seeded in the NCAA tournament. Baylor has hosted part of the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament in Waco at the Ferrell Center in the past two seasons. Baylor expects to be hosting again for a third-straight season.