No. 2 Lady Bears smother West Virginia, clinch Big 12 regular season title

Baylor guard Te'a Cooper goes upcourt while defended by West Virginia guard Kirsten Deans during the first half of a Big 12 game Monday in Morgantown, W.Va. Associated Press

By Pranay Malempati | Sports Writer

In a quick turnaround from Saturday’s victory over Oklahoma, the Lady Bears won a defensive showdown in West Virginia, knocking off the Mountaineers 64-39 and completing a season sweep Monday night in Morgantown, W. Va. With this win, Baylor clinches at least a share of its 10th straight Big 12 regular season title.

After an extremely low-scoring first half, the Lady Bears took a 29-19 lead at halftime. Baylor came out and put the game away in the third quarter, outscoring West Virginia 25-9 out of the half and taking a 54-28 lead into the fourth quarter.

Graduate guard Te’A Cooper led Baylor in scoring with 17 points, including four three-pointers, and added four rebounds and four assists. However, Cooper also had four of the team’s 14 turnovers.

Senior forward Lauren Cox was the only other Lady Bear to score in double digits with 12 points, as well as nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks. Cox, Cooper and sophomore forward NaLyssa Smith each had six points in that game-defining third quarter.

Baylor completely shut down West Virginia, which averaged 13 points per quarter. The Mountaineers shot just 23.6 percent from the field, making just three of their 19 three-point attempts. West Virginia also only had six total assists for the game.

The Lady Bears made about 45% of their shots, including about 45% of their threes. However, Baylor only shot 50% from the free throw line, making just 11 of their 22 attempts from the charity stripe.

They also collected 12 offensive rebounds, giving themselves plenty of opportunities to earn second-chance points.

Baylor next plays at 6 p.m. Saturday against Kansas State at home in the Ferrell Center. The Lady Bears will be playing to clinch the Big 12 title outright and eliminate TCU from contention.