MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

March 10, 2014

OSU falls to Baylor in Big 12 semis


Associated Press

— OKLAHOMA CITY — Baylor superstar Odyssey Sims has been in a bit of a slump while dealing with special defenses designed to slow her down.

Fortunately, Baylor’s emerging star has picked up the slack. Freshman forward Nina Davis had 18 points and 12 rebounds to help the No. 9 Lady Bears beat No. 18 Oklahoma State 65-61 in the Big 12 women’s semifinals Sunday.

Baylor will face No. 7 West Virginia in the title game Monday night. West Virginia beat Texas 67-60 in the second semifinal.

Over the past five games, Davis, the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, has averaged 20.8 points and 11 rebounds while Sims has struggled to find her shooting touch. Baylor coach Kim Mulkey built Davis’ confidence on Sunday, knowing she might need production from someone other than Sims.

“When I first subbed out, coach came up to me and told me to keep shooting the ball, shooting the ball with confidence,” Davis said. “I just took her words to heart and I just kept shooting until it fell in, and once it went in, they were big shots, so I was satisfied.”

Sims entered the game averaging 29.1 points per contest. Mulkey is starting to expect big numbers from Davis, too.

“She’s one of those players that, when the game is over, you don’t realize she had another double-double,” Mulkey said. “She just does her job in there.”

Sims, the Big 12 Player of the Year, shot just 6 of 22 but made a critical shot with 1:42 remaining to play that put the Lady Bears ahead by six. The Cowgirls defended her with a triangle-and-two defense, allowing Davis and Makenzie Robertson to exploit its openings. Robertson scored 13 points and made 3 of 6 3-pointers.

It was Mulkey’s 400th career win. The Lady Bears (28-4) advanced to Monday’s final and can win their fourth consecutive conference title.

Brittney Martin had 11 points and 15 rebounds for Oklahoma State (23-8), but she made 4 of 16 shots. Tiffany Bias, OSU’s leading scorer, finished with nine points on 3-for-11 shooting and played with foul trouble for most of the game.

Baylor outrebounded Oklahoma State 47-39 and held the Cowgirls to 36 percent shooting. Still, the Cowgirls had their chances.

“I’m really proud of our team,” Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said. “I thought they competed very hard.  Also disappointed because I felt like we had a chance to win the basketball game.”

Baylor expected a tough matchup. The Lady Bears won both regular-season meetings, but Oklahoma State took it to overtime in Stillwater. OSU has never won a Big 12 tournament title and was trying to reach the final for just the second time.