No. 10 Baylor prevails over Women's Basketball, 72-64, in regular season finale
AUSTIN, Texas -- Senior forward Sophia Young registered a double-double with game-highs of 28 points and a season-high and game-high 17 rebounds to lift No. 10 Baylor to a 72-64 Big 12 women's basketball win Wednesday night over Texas in the regular season finale for both squads.
Despite a career-high 25 points from senior guard Nina Norman and a career-high tying 17 points from freshman guard Erika Arriaran, the Longhorns dropped their third game in a row. Junior forward Tiffany Jackson finished with a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds. Texas ends its regular season with a 13-14 mark and finished conference play at 7-9. With the win, Baylor improves to 22-5 and finishes Big 12 action with a 12-4 mark, gaining the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.
The win was the first for Baylor in Austin since January of 2002, as the Longhorns had won the last four meetings on their Erwin Center home court. Led by Young, Baylor out-scored the Longhorns 28-16 in the paint and the Lady Bears held an 11-4 edge in points off turnovers.
Texas and Baylor will now prepare for Big 12 Championship which takes place Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday, March 7-9 and 11, at Reunion Arena in Dallas. The seedings and pairing for the 12-team tourney will be announced tomorrow (Thursday, March 2) evening at the conclusion of Big 12 regular season play.
Texas had a strong second half, turning the ball over just twice in the final 20 minutes and going 10-for-12 in free throws. In both halves, however, the Horns shot just 33 percent.
Down by eight early in the second half (40-32), Texas used a 12-1 run to take the lead mid-way through the second half for the first time since the opening minutes. In that 12-1 run, Norman netted six points - all on jumpers -and scored the go-ahead basket with 12:08 to go as Texas took a 42-41 lead. Norman's third jumper 53 seconds later pushed UT's lead to three, 44-41.
Baylor quickly countered, scoring 13 of the next 15 points in the game and regained the lead for good with a Latoya Wyatt runner and a Young layup, 45-44, with 10:10 to go. In the 13-2 Baylor run, Texas scored one basket and had six misses and two offensive fouls as the Lady Bears built a 10-point lead (56-46) with 4:18 left on the clock.
Baylor led at intermission, 30-26, as Young led the way with 11 points and nine rebounds and freshman Jessica Morrow added seven points. Both teams were cold from the floor, with Texas hitting just 33 percent of its first-half shots (9-27) and Baylor making 32.4 percent of its field goals (12-37).
Texas held a 10-4 lead in the first 3:07 of the game, but Baylor took over the lead for good with a 10-2 burst over the next 2:33. Baylor tied the game at 12-12 on a Chameka Scott 3-pointer and grabbed the lead on a Young jumper, 14-12, with 14:30 left.
Texas would pull to within one point, 16-15 on two Norman free throws two and a half minutes later, but Baylor then netted 10 of the next 14 points and led by nine (28-19) with 6:44 remaining. UT's leading scorer and rebounder Jackson picked up her third foul with 3:58 to go in the half and sat out the final minutes.
Norman's 25 points marked the third time in the last six games that she has reached or surpassed her career high. Her former single game best was 24 points, set against Connecticut (Feb. 12) and Oklahoma (Feb. 15) in back-to-back games.
Texas ends the regular season with an 8-7 mark at home.
Joining Young in double-figure scoring for the Lady Bears were three other players - freshman Jessica Morrow (12 points), senior Chameka Scott (10 points) and freshman Angela Tisdale (10 points).
Baylor held a 51-41 edge in rebounding. BU made six three-pointers, going 6-for-18 from long range, while Texas, paced by three treys from Arriaran, was 5-10 from 3-point territory. Texas turned the ball over 12 times, while Baylor made 13 turnovers.
Give Baylor credit. They are a solid team which is playing well. I felt like we were doing a decent job on Sophia (Young), but then you take a look at the statistics and see that she finished with 28 (points) and 18 (rebounds). She got the key shots and rebounds for them when we were making our run in the second half.
I thought Nina (Norman) and Erika (Arriaran) played well at times. Nina got to the rim a lot, and Erika, she rushed her shots a lot at times. That was indicative of how we were on offense- impatient. Erika hit on it when she said we were not very patient. I know Erika and Nina's point totals look good, but their shooting percentage does not tonight.
On heading into the 2006 Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament next week in Dallas: I told the players in the locker room, right now, everyone goes into the tournament with a 0-0 record. It's a clean slate. Right now, we have to wait until tomorrow night when the Big 12 regular season ends to find out where we finish and who we play. Except for the top seeds, the rest of us are all jumbled up right now.
We are doing things much better on the court. Offensively, if we are to win in Dallas, we need to focus better offensively. We have lost many opportunities we've had to possess the ball and have not shown offensive patience. If we have patience next week, we have a chance.
Texas Senior Guard Nina Norman
Baylor Head Coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson
At halftime, I said to the players, you have to make some perimeter shots in order to win. We've won seven of the last eight. We've now put ourselves in a position to be the No. 2 seed in Dallas. If we can win a few games there, we put ourselves in a position to win the Big 12 Tournament. And then, you never know what can happen in the NCAA Tournament.
I just thought Texas got excited in the second half and made some plays to get the crowd into it, yet we kept our composure. Nothing I drew up in the timeouts let us take the lead back. It was the seniors with their composure that did that, and we kept plugging away.
Nina (Norman) either really loves Baylor or really hates us. Gosh, she always plays well against us.
Baylor senior forward Sophia Young On her game and scoring nine straight points in the final second-half run to put the game away: I really just wanted to go with the flow of the game. We as seniors know what it is like to play in these kind of games. My teammates got me the ball in the right spots. We came here with the motivation that we have never come here and won a game in Austin. So, we were not anxious. We just said, we've never won here, just settle down and let the game come to you.