No. 3 Baylor women hang on to beat Texas Tech 67-60
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) Baylor coach Kim Mulkey and the No. 3 Lady Bears were happy to come away with an ”ugly” victory over Texas Tech on Wednesday night.
”I think we all just struggled tonight,” Mulkey said. ”When you can come to a press conference and say you’ve struggled and you won, it’s a lot better than saying you struggled and you got beat.”
Niya Johnson tied her season high with 17 points and Nina Davis added 12 to help Baylor beat Texas Tech 67-60.
The win, the Lady Bears’ 24th straight, assured Baylor a share of the Big 12 title with Oklahoma. A win over TCU in Waco on Saturday would give the Lady Bears sole possession of the regular-season title, their fifth straight and sixth overall.
Davis also had 10 rebounds.
It was only the sixth time that Baylor (25-1, 14-0 Big 12) has won by single digits this season.
The Lady Raiders pulled to 61-59 on Amber Battle’s field goal with 1:28 remaining, but Baylor’s Sune Agbuke made a quick layup. Battle then hit a free throw, but Johnson sank two free throws to seal the win.
Johnson had eight turnovers, and Davis finished with six.
”I felt I rushed it,” Johnson said. ”I got down on myself after each turnover, but I couldn’t let it affect my game or get to me. I had to keep pushing through it and keep attacking.”
Ivonne CookTaylor scored 17 points and Battle had 16 for Texas Tech (15-11, 5-9).
Texas Tech, which had won two straight coming into Wednesday night’s contest, tied a season high with 11 3-pointers off of 20 attempts.
”If they make 11 of 20 every night, they would have more than five wins in this league,” Mulkey said.
Texas Tech made adjustments to its offense after halftime.
”We felt like we were better when we were a little more patient, work the basketball more,” Lady Raiders coach Candi Whitaker said. ”We wanted to make them have to guard us versus play one on one, where they’re going to win that battle.”
Baylor played sloppily at times, turning the ball over 22 times, 14 of those steals, giving the Lady Raiders 21 points off all of them.
But the Lady Bears dominated in the paint, outscoring Texas Tech 40-14.
”It’s just something we’re big on,” Davis said. ”Post touches, just getting the ball into the post. Sometimes you live by the three and you die by the three. Tech was just on today, but we were just getting into the post.”
Baylor also outrebounded Texas Tech 47-25, which translated into 20 second-chance points for the Lady Bears.
Baylor went up by 12 points on Niya Johnson’s layup by with less than 5 minutes left in the first half. But the Lady Raiders put together a 10-4 run, capped by Ryann Bowser’s 3-pointer, to pull to 34-28.
The Lady Bears led 36-30 at halftime.
ON THE RISE:
CookTaylor, a redshirt sophomore from San Francisco, had six of the Lady Raiders’ 14 steals. She scored 12 points in the first half, making it three straight games where the Lady Raiders have had a player in double figures at halftime.
Baylor: The win brought Baylor its 18th overall 25-win season and the 13th, including 12 straight, in Mulkey’s 15-year tenure.
Texas Tech: Battle had her 17th double-digit scoring performance in 19 games this season. It was her 42nd game overall during her career.
Baylor plays host to TCU on Saturday.
Texas Tech plays host to Texas on Saturday.