OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Baylor posted a record-setting performance and earned a chance to return to its usual perch.
Kalani Brown scored 28 points to help the third-ranked Lady Bears roll past TCU 94-48 in a Big 12 semifinal Sunday for its 27th straight victory. Baylor’s 46-point win was the most-lopsided Big 12 Tournament game ever, topping Iowa State’s 37-point victory over Nebraska in 2000.
Now, Baylor will play No. 7 Texas in the championship. The Lady Bears won six straight conference tournament titles before losing to West Virginia in the final last year. The Lady Bears remember how they felt after last year’s defeat.
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”It’s a huge motivator,” Baylor forward Lauren Cox said. ”We always want to win. We hate to lose.”
Cox had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Alexis Morris scored a season-high 18 points for Baylor. Juicy Landrum had 13 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for the Lady Bears (30-1), who shot 60 percent from the floor.
”Baylor played extremely well and we didn’t,” TCU coach Raegan Pebley said. ”They’re a team right now that your room for error is slight. If your post play is out because of fouls and your perimeter is unable to see the ball go down the net, it can snowball fast, and that’s a bit of what happened for us.”
Jordan Moore and Amy Okonkwo each scored 12 points for TCU (19-12). The game went a lot like the regular-season matchups – Baylor won the previous meetings 83-63 on Feb. 10 and 85-53 on Feb. 24.
Baylor blasted out of the blocks. Cox drained a 3-pointer to put the Lady Bears up 24-11, and the Lady Bears extended their advantage to 28-13 at the end of the period.
Baylor shot 56.3 percent in the first half to lead 52-32 at the break. Cox, Brown and Morris each had 13 points at halftime.
The Lady Bears held TCU to five points on 2-for-11 shooting in the third quarter to go up 69-37 at the end of the period. They left an impression on Pebley.
”When you watch them and you’re a basketball enthusiast and you know the game, they are very good and they deserve a No. 1 seed,” Pebley said.
TCU: The Horned Frogs lost six of eight in February, then beat Oklahoma in the Big 12 quarterfinals to start March. The rough February might have killed their NCAA hopes – their RPI is 71. TCU’s top three scorers return next season, so better times could be ahead.
Baylor: The Lady Bears got their second straight win without injured senior point guard Kristy Wallace. Morris, the new starting point guard, made 7 of 9 shots and had six assists, six rebounds and three turnovers in 38 minutes.
Baylor hammered TCU with its size advantage and outrebounded the Horned Frogs 49-19. TCU was no match for the 6-foot-7 Brown and the 6-4 Cox, who both grabbed 11 rebounds. TCU’s tallest player was 6-3.
Mulkey on Morris getting beaten out for Big 12 Freshman of the Year by Oklahoma’s Shaina Pellington: ”I would’ve voted her (Morris) freshman of the year if they would have asked me”
TCU: The Horned Frogs wait to see if their season will be extended.
Baylor: Will play Texas in the Big 12 championship game on Monday.