The No. 6 Baylor Lady Bears were able to pull away late from the No. 17 West Virginia women’s basketball team, beating them by a score of, 96-73, to close out the Big 12 regular season.
The Mountaineers (19-5, 13-5 Big 12) started the game out shooting the ball well. The Mountaineers led most of the way in the first half, thanks in large part to the 3-point shooting as West Virginia made five 3-pointers and shot 43% from the field. The Mountaineers, however, got into foul trouble early as sophomore Esmery Martinez and junior Kari Niblack picked up two fouls early in the first quarter.
“When we get in foul trouble we are not that deep on the bench and it really hurt us,” WVU head coach Mike Carey said.
In the second quarter, the Mountaineers were able to keep the Lady Bears (22-2, 17-1 Big 12) at bay for the most part as they led for the majority of the second quarter. West Virginia held a lead of 28-23 with 5:17 left in the second quarter. Baylor quickly got back into the game thanks in large part to a 11-0 run, putting the Lady Bears up 41-35 at halftime, led by senior DiJonai Carrington who scored nine-of-her-22 points and grabbed four-of-her-ten rebounds in the second quarter.
The third quarter was more of the same as the Mountaineers hung around and kept things close. Sophomore Kirsten Deans scored 14 of her team-high 22 points in the third quarter to keep the Mountaineers within striking distance. Baylor was able to stay in control due in large part to junior Queen Egbo who had a career-high 26 points, seven of which came in the third quarter.
The Lady Bears were able to fully take control of the game in the fourth quarter, out-scoring West Virginia 31-16 in the fourth quarter, to seal the victory. Baylor was very effective and dominant in the paint, scoring 64 points in the paint compared to only 22 for West Virginia and out-rebounded West Virginia 53-28. Baylor was also able to force 17 West Virginia turnovers and scored 17 points off of those turnovers.
“We got lazy in the paint,” Carey said. “You can’t get lazy [against] Baylor in the paint.”
The Mountaineers will travel to Kansas City for the Big 12 Tournament. They are the No. 2 seed in the tournament and will play the winner of Texas Tech and Kansas State on Friday, March, 12 with tipoff set for 5:30 p.m.
“We have to regroup and get ready for the Big 12 tournament. We have a number two seed and we are in great shape,” Carey added.
(Top Photo: Chris Jones)