No. 1 Baylor 75, No. 23 Iowa St. 47

Iowa State guard Nikki Moody’s layup attempt rolled around and

almost completely stopped on the back of the rim before finally

falling off.

Even if Moody had finished off her nifty steal in the backcourt,

it wouldn’t have helped the Cyclones much against No. 1 Baylor. The

outcome in the Big 12 women’s tournament championship game was

pretty much decided – and there were still a few seconds remaining

in the first half.

Brittney Griner scored 31 points and the defending national

champion Lady Bears won their third consecutive Big 12 tournament

title, rolling past No. 23 Iowa State 75-47 Monday night.

Count Cyclones coach Bill Fennelly among those who figured the

Big 12 title was decided long ago. When he showed the team where it

stood in league stats and standings during the season, he simply

erased Baylor, which won the regular season by six games.

”I think they are different than anyone in the country,” said

Fennelly, whose team ended up as the runner-up in both the regular

season and the tournament. ”They’ve proven that over the last two

years. What they did to us tonight, they’ve done to a lot people

over the last two years.”

Moody’s miss was the best illustration of the lowest-scoring

half in Big 12 championship game history. Iowa State had two

scoreless stretches totaling 14 minutes and trailed 41-13. The

Cyclones had six missed shots and eight turnovers during a 19-0

Baylor run that covered 8 minutes and wiped out a 6-5 Iowa State


The Cyclones had 15 turnovers before halftime and just seven

rebounds – the same number as Griner, who outscored Iowa State by

10 in the first half with 23 points on 11-of-12 shooting. Baylor

had the lead for good on Griner’s putback after she grabbed the

rebound of her only missed shot of the half.

”Just to see her skill set improve through the last four

years,” said Anna Prins, who led Iowa State with 20 points but

couldn’t get anything going until Baylor had the game in hand in

the second half. ”I felt like she couldn’t miss tonight.”

Odyssey Sims added 20 points for Baylor (32-1), including three

3-pointers in the first 4 minutes after halftime.

Moody followed Sims with 12 for the Cyclones (23-8) in a matchup

of the top two seeds in their first Big 12 title game since


Along with the last three Big 12 tournament titles, the Lady

Bears have gone undefeated through the league the last two regular

seasons for a 49-game conference winning streak. Their fifth Big 12

tournament title – all coming in a stretch that began in 2005, the

year of their first national title – broke a tie with Oklahoma for

the most in the league.

”Winning never gets old, especially this one,” said Griner,

one of five Baylor seniors. ”We wanted to celebrate this,

everybody did. This is our last go-around with the Big 12. Meant

everything to us.”

Baylor will surely be the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA

tournament and will play its first games in two weeks on the Waco

campus, where they Lady Bears have won a nation-best 55 games in a

row. They have won 30 straight overall since losing against

Stanford at a tournament in Hawaii a week into the season.

Griner finished 14 of 17 shooting and had as many field goals as

Iowa State’s entire team when she came out of the game for good

with 4:12 left.

When Griner got near the Baylor bench, she shared a long hug

with coach Kim Mulkey while getting a large ovation from an adoring

crowd with the game being played only about 100 miles from the

Baylor campus.

”She’s the best player I’ve ever coached against,” Fennelly

said. ”You try a lot of different things. I think we’ve all tried

a lot of different things, and none of them have worked.”

Prins was coming off a career-high 32 points Sunday in the

Cyclones’ 79-60 semifinal victory over Oklahoma. She scored 17 in

the second half and finished 4 of 4 from 3-point range.

Moody ended up with nine of Iowa State’s 21 turnovers, seven of

them coming in the decisive first half.

”It was mostly just they pressure a lot on the outside,” Moody

said. ”It’s harder to pass the ball exactly where you want to. You

have to improvise and do different things.”

Baylor had a much tougher semifinal matchup, holding on for a

77-69 victory over Oklahoma State, which was within three in the

final minute after the Lady Bears had 18 of their season-high 24

turnovers after halftime. While they never trailed, it was their

only game against a Big 12 opponent this season decided by less

than 10 points.

The championship game was more like the kind of games Baylor has

had in its Big 12 run, a lopsided score with Griner playing a big


”I don’t think there’s any question that everyone kind of saw

that bear kind of came out of hibernation kind of thing,” Fennelly


Sims, the junior All-American point guard and only non-senior in

the Baylor starting lineup, responded emphatically after a making a

trio of 3-pointers in the second half.

There was a huge fist pump after one of them, then after sinking

her third from in front of the Baylor bench, Sims reached down and

patted the floor. That put the Lady Bears up 50-18 and Iowa State

called time out.