WACO, Texas (AP) Nina Davis and fourth-ranked Baylor are ready for another shot at Texas.
Just like their meeting two weeks ago, the Lady Bears and Longhorns are going into a big Monday showdown tied for the Big 12 lead.
Davis scored a season-high 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Lady Bears in an 89-67 win over Oklahoma State on Saturday, moving them back into a share for the conference lead after eighth-ranked Texas suffered its first Big 12 loss earlier in the day.
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The Lady Bears (25-2, 14-1 Big 12) never trailed in their first home game since that Feb. 6 loss to the Longhorns.
”Yeah, it helps to know that the wound is still there. It hasn’t had much time to heal, not that it would heal,” Davis said. ”Having a quick turnaround definitely helps.”
Baylor has won the last six Big 12 regular season and tournament titles. There are three regular-season games left for both teams, but Monday night’s game in Austin could very well prove to be the clincher for the Lady Bears or Longhorns (21-5, 14-1).
In the locker room after Saturday’s game, Baylor coach Kim Mulkey asked her players who was next on their schedule.
”They knew,” said Mulkey, who then offered the reminder that they have three games left.
Along with Davis’ 30th career double-double, Kalani Brown had her eighth for Baylor with 19 points and 12 rebounds in 21 minutes against Oklahoma State (14-11, 4-11).
Karli Wheeler led the Cowgirls with 18 points, while Mandy Coleman had 13 and Diana Omozee 13.
The rematch between the Big 12’s top two teams comes two weeks after the Longhorns never trailed in an 85-79 win at Waco, and a week after they won at fourth-ranked Florida State. But their 19-game winning streak ended in a 74-73 loss at No. 19 Oklahoma on Saturday.
Davis said the Lady Bears were uncharacteristically nonchalant with a lack of effort and aggressiveness in the last meeting against Texas, the only matchup ever of teams both 12-0 in Big 12.
”We kind of let them come out and they hit us with the first punch and we never fought back until the second half,” Davis said. ”We just want to come out this time and we want to hit them first and we just never want to slow down. Make the aggressive plays, stop them in transition and just get back to playing our ball.”
Oklahoma State: The Cowgirls kept it closer against Baylor this time, after a 36-point loss at home in January. ”I’m not totally displeased the way we played,” coach Jim Littell said. ”We are challenged offensively a little bit and to come in here and score 67, and I think we missed five point-blank 2-footers.”
Baylor: Mulkey’s 498th career victory marked the 14th consecutive season when the Lady Bears reached 25 wins. Now they’re looking for their eighth Big 12 regular season title.
Davis, recognized before the game for becoming the sixth player in school history with more than 1,000 rebounds, had two three-point plays in the second quarter. The two-time AP All-American also scored on a breakaway layup on Alexis Jones’ nifty bounce pass ahead through defenders to give the Lady Bears a 42-27 lead, their largest before halftime. ”That’s Nina at her best,” Mulkey said. Davis now has 2,283 points and 1,014 rebounds in her career.
The Lady Bears had their first double-digit lead after Dekeiya Cohen hustled back on defense to block a potential breakaway layup. Cohen then got the assist on Brown’s layup that made it 24-14. ”Loved it,” Mulkey said. ”Just do something that will give us a spark and get the crowd into it.”
Oklahoma State: Plays its next two games at home, the first Wednesday night against Texas Tech.
Baylor: at Texas on Monday night on ESPN2.
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