Davis, Sims lead Baylor to Big 12 women's title

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 10, 2014 at 11:45 pm •  Published: March 10, 2014
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Nothing was going to stop Odyssey Sims.

Not her early foul trouble, West Virginia's suffocating defense or the left ankle injury she suffered less than t wo minutes into the Big 12 championship game.

Sims, the Big 12 player of the year, bounced back and scored 15 of her 19 points in the second half to help No. 9 Baylor defeat No. 7 West Virginia 74-71 Monday night and earn an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. It was Sims' fourth championship in four years.

"Just feels great," she said. "It feels good to win another championship. I'm happy for my team. Just happy."

Niya Johnson scored a career-high 19 points and made four free throws in the final minute, and Nina Davis added 16 points for the Lady Bears (29-4), who have won 15 of their past 16 games. Davis, a freshman, was named the tournament's most outstanding player.

Bria Holmes scored 24 points and Linda Stepney and Averee Fields added 10 each for West Virginia (29-4), which had won 12 straight. The Mountaineers were trying to win the tournament in just their second year in the conference, but now they have something to think about as they prepare for the NCAA tournament.

"I told the players, remember how this feels because the next time going down the stretch, we've got to execute," West Virginia coach Mike Carey said. "We normally have executed well going down the stretch. Today we just had a couple shots, missed them, and then defensively is where I was really disappointed. We didn't execute and get some stops."

The teams shared the regular-season Big 12 title and split their games during the regular season, with each winning on the other's home court. Sims was slowed this time after scoring 48 and 39 points in the regular season games, but the Bears supported her by shooting 48 percent overall.

The lead went back and forth in the final minutes.

Sims made a jumper with 50.4 seconds left to put Baylor up 70-69.

West Virginia misconnected on a post entry pass and turned the ball over. Baylor ran the clock down, forcing West Virginia to foul. Holmes committed her fifth foul by reaching in on Johnson, and Johnson made two free throws.

West Virginia's Stepney made a layup with 5.4 seconds remaining, then West Virginia quickly fouled. Johnson made two more free throws with 4.7 seconds to play to put Baylor up by three. Baylor elected not to foul, choosing to play defense and force West Virginia to make a difficult shot. Stepney missed a long 3-pointer at the buzzer, and the Bears celebrated.

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