DALLAS (AP) — Nina Davis had 16 points with 11 rebounds and No. 5 Baylor clinched its fifth Big 12 tournament championship in a row with a 75-64 win over Texas on Monday night.
While Davis had only one basket after halftime, Alexis Prince scored 10 of her 13 points during that same span. Prince had a couple of big 3-pointers, the first setup by her impressive defensive play.
The Lady Bears (30-3) won their seventh Big 12 tournament title. They clinched the league’s automatic NCAA tournament berth though they were already a sure bet to play a first-round game at home.
Texas (22-10) was in its first Big 12 tournament final since 2004, a year after winning it and then going all the way to the NCAA Final Four.
Imani Wright had 14 points for the Lady Bears while Sune Agbuke had 10 points and eight rebounds Niya Johnson had seven points, five rebounds and seven assists.
Imani McGee-Stafford had 15 points for Texas, and Empress Davenport had 13.
Brianna Taylor was driving toward the Texas basket when she went up and Prince stripped the ball cleanly out of her hands. At the other end, Prince got the ball back from Wright and hit a 3 that put the Lady Bears ahead 47-38 with 18:10 left.
Prince hit another 3 from the right wing only a few feet in front of coach Kim Mulkey on the sideline midway through the second half with Texas in the midst of a nearly 6-minute scoring drought. It put the Lady Bears up 64-46.
The Longhorns were actually the preseason Big 12 favorite, but their season took a terrible turn when leading scorer and rebounder Nneka Enemkpali suffered a season-ending knee injury in a 75-58 loss at Baylor on Jan. 19 when they also were a Top 10 team.
They had recovered of late, winning seven of their last eight before losing in the tournament final, and should be in the NCAA Tournament.
Baylor, which won its fifth consecutive regular-season title to enter the Big 12 tournament as the top seed again, never trailed after scoring the game’s first six points, though the Longhorns responded with six in a row for the only tie.
Wright’s 3-pointer with 3:35 left in the first half put Baylor up 35-25 before the Longhorns scored eight in a row over the next 2 minutes to get within 35-33 on Ariel Atkins’ jumper. They never got closer.
Almost as quickly as Texas had cut the gap, Davis hit two free throws and after Davenport was whistled for an offensive foul, Alexis Prince hit a 3-pointer for Lady Bears.
Texas: The Longhorns lead the overall series against their instate rival, 57-32, but have lost the last 11 games wince a win in Waco in the 2010 regular-season finale.
Baylor: Davis was named the outstanding player of the tournament. She had 30 points and 29 points in the first two games. … The Lady Bears secured their fifth consecutive 30-win season, and sixth in Mulkey’s 15 seasons. …
Texas: Waiting for NCAA Tournament bids to find out where the Longhorns will play.
Baylor: Hosting first-round NCAA Tournament game either March 20 or March 21.
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