The Longhorns’ women’s basketball team has notched two double-digit wins in Oklahoma City, beating Iowa State 81-69 and West Virginia 68-55, for the right to face the conference’s 800-pound gorilla, in tonight’s Big 12 Championship Game.
Baylor comes in firing on all cylinders, beating K-State 83-54 in the quarterfinal before yesterday’s 94-48 dismantling of TCU. The Bears are poised to make yet another deep run in the NCAA Tournament and look like one of the few teams that can hang with the likes of UConn and Mississippi State.
But Texas has, at least on its home court, hung tough with both the Huskies and the Bears this season and will look to give Baylor a run tonight. Texas lost the first matchup in Waco by 25, but fought tooth and nail in a six-point loss in Austin on February 19.
Brooke McCarty was vintage in that one, going off for 32 points including 7-of-9 from three point range. McCarty and her fellow guards will have to be excellent from outside again for Texas to have a chance, because Baylor doesn’t allow a lot of points in the paint with 6’7” junior center Kalani Brown guarding the rim.
Brown is also the Bears’ leading scorer at over 20 points per game, but she hasn’t been the only Baylor star to hurt the ‘Horns this year. Simply put, Texas has had absolutely no answers for Baylor’s offensive attack in either matchup this year, giving up 81 points in Waco and 93 in Austin. The difference between the games was Texas’ shooting, which was hot in Austin and less so in Waco.
Tonight is mostly for pride; neither team’s NCAA Tournament seed will be much affected. But a Big 12 title over Big, Bad Baylor would be a great springboard into the Big Dance.