Oklahoma State basketball: No. 1 Baylor holds on for win over Cowgirls

Brittney Griner had 30 points and 10 rebounds, and top-ranked Baylor held off a furious late charge by Oklahoma State for a 77-69 victory in the Big 12 tournament semifinals Sunday.
BY GINA MIZELL Published: March 10, 2013
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photo - Oklahoma State's Toni Young (15) dives for the ball beside Baylor's Jordan Madden (3) during the Big 12 tournament women's college basketball game between Oklahoma State University and Baylor at American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Sunday, March 10, 2012.  Oklahoma State lost 77-69. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma State's Toni Young (15) dives for the ball beside Baylor's Jordan Madden (3) during the Big 12 tournament women's college basketball game between Oklahoma State University and Baylor at American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Sunday, March 10, 2012. Oklahoma State lost 77-69. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

DALLAS — Had Jim Littell previously been informed of the scenario his team would face Sunday against Baylor, he gladly would have taken it.

Down three points against the No. 1 team in the nation with about one minute to play. With the ball.

But after a late charge by the Cowgirls and a frenzied closing minutes, OSU’s upset bid ultimately came up short in a 77-69 victory for the Bears to advance to Monday night’s Big 12 Tournament championship game against Iowa State.

“I’m very pleased with our effort and our performance and our courage that we played with,” Littell said. “We went toe-to-toe with the No. 1 team in the nation and with 38 seconds to go, we were down by three.

“I didn’t think we played with any fear.”

After falling behind 54-37 with about 15 minutes to play, OSU staged a 32-18 run — sparked largely by its defensive pressure that forced Baylor into a season-high 24 turnovers — to put itself in position to tie.

But a pass from Liz Donohoe to LaShawn Jones in the paint was knocked away by Baylor star Brittney Griner, and Jordan Madden provided the dagger when she nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing with the shot clock winding down to give the Bears a 75-69 advantage with 38 seconds to play.

“I probably should have shot the ball,” Donohoe admitted. “But I figured I could pass it into (Jones) and she could beast up on Brittney Griner and score and maybe get an and-1.

“Live and learn.”

That type of rally was needed twice from the Cowgirls, who also fell down by 17 points midway through the first half. But a trio of 3-pointers and a pull-up jumper by Tiffany Bias keyed an 18-9 burst that cut the Bears’ lead to 41-33 with 1:57 left until the break.

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