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Third time is no charm for Lady Raiders against No. 1 Baylor in Big 12 tourney

Posted: March 8, 2012 - 4:14pm  |  Updated: March 9, 2012 - 1:07am
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Baylor's Brittney Griner, right, protects the ball from Texas Tech's Kelsi Baker during Baylor's 72-48 win in the Big 12 tournament on Thursday in Kansas City, Mo.  Jeff Tuttle
Jeff Tuttle
Baylor's Brittney Griner, right, protects the ball from Texas Tech's Kelsi Baker during Baylor's 72-48 win in the Big 12 tournament on Thursday in Kansas City, Mo.
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It’s hard to beat a team three times in a season, so the saying goes.

But Baylor’s third bout with Texas Tech wasn’t a problem at all Thursday.

The top-ranked Lady Bears overwhelmed the Lady Raiders on both ends of the floor and ran away with a 72-48 victory in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament at Municipal Auditorium.

“We should have beat them,” junior guard Casey Morris said. “We were going to be the ones to beat them.”

The Lady Raiders played undefeated Baylor (32-0) closer and tougher than any team in the country during the regular season, losing by eight points in Lubbock and five points in Waco.

The Lady Bears are outscoring opponents by nearly 30 points per game this season, and only five teams have come within 10 points of them: No. 4 Connecticut, No. 9 Tennessee, No. 22 Texas A&M and twice Texas Tech.

But the Lady Raiders (19-13) that kept those games so close were nowhere to be found Thursday.

Tech, the nine seed at the conference tournament, shot 18 percent in the first half and went 13 ½ minutes without a field goal during a stretch that spanned both halves.

The Lady Raiders did a commendable job defending Big 12 player of the year Brittney Griner, who had four turnovers, but didn’t have an answer for the rest of the Lady Bears.

Odyssey Sims scored 18 points to lead the way and Kimetria Hayden scored 10. Griner had 15 points on 5 of 10 shooting and had nine rebounds and five blocks. Each of the 10 Lady Bears that entered the game made at least one basket.

“They tried to do the same stuff they’d done the previous two games,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “But the difference is they didn’t make 3s. When you spread the floor and go to a nontraditional type of offense to attack Griner or to keep Griner from being effective on the defensive end, you have to get away and deviate from what you normally do. Well, that’s good if you’re successful at making 3s.”

Tech was 3 of 14 from the perimeter, was outscored 32-18 in the paint and scored only eight points off 18 Baylor turnovers.

Monique Smalls made a 3-pointer to give Tech a 9-8 lead with 13:51 remaining in the first half, but it was all Baylor the rest of the way. The Lady Bears ended the first half on a 32-8 run and went into halftime leading 40-16.

Griner, who had four assists, didn’t mind taking a backseat and letting the rest of the team handle the heavy lifting.

“This program is way more than me,” Griner said. “They always say Brittney Griner and Baylor, but I can’t do it myself. On nights when I’m not shooting that well, we still have everybody that can attack and score. So you can stop me, but you got to stop everybody else on our team, too.”

Smalls led Tech with 11 points, the only Lady Raider in double figures.

Baylor advances to face in the semifinals at noon today.

Tech’s disappointing season, which saw the Lady Raiders ranked in the top 10 in January, will likely proceed to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

“It’s a championship,” Smalls said. “It’s not the championship that we wanted, but it’s the championship that right now we’re put in, and we’re going to try and get it.”

 

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WNIT is for losers!

When a team is capable enough to reach a top 10 ranking, and then ends up ninth in their league, they do not deserve to go anywhere but home, at the end of the season. If you are a team that has never contended for anything before, and you make the WNIT, then that can be a stepping stone up. But when you are the Lady Raiders, it is just further acknowledgement that you were a big failure this year. Stop the bleeding and get back into the weight room and off-season conditioning program, and see if someone wants to lead this team next year.

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Dude

Dude. MAN can beat those odds.

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