Baylor and West Virginia shared the regular-season Big 12 women’s basketball championship, but the conference tournament trophy will stay in Waco, Texas, for a fourth straight year.
The top-seeded Bears held off a fiesty Mountaineers squad to claim the Big 12 tournament title with a 74-71 victory Monday night inside the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The tournament title was Baylor’s fifth in the last six seasons.
The Bears (29-4, 16-2 Big 12) won the last three Big 12 tournaments largely because of superstar center Brittney Griner, widely considered to be one of the greatest women’s basketball players ever.
“What makes this particular team special is, I'm not sure what the expectations were for this basketball team this year,” said Baylor coach Kim Mulkey. “I couldn't tell you at the beginning of the season what I thought they should be. … We won another conference title, and then we won another tourney title, and let's hope in the NCAAs we get a good seed and see if we can't go pretty deep in the tournament.”
The Bears had to fight much harder for this championship than they have in a while, though. After winning the last two conference tournament title games by an average of 25.5 points, West Virginia led Baylor by five with 10 minutes to play, and by one point with about two minutes to go.