Saturday, March 11, 2006

Baylor psyched for OU rematch


— The Baylor Lady Bears are right where they wanted to be at the Big 12 Conference tournament.

The 10th-ranked Bears (24-5) get a chance to defend their league tourney title tonight in the championship game, where they'll play No. 8 Oklahoma.

"There's not really much to elaborate on," said Sophia Young, the Big 12 player of the year. "We just wanted to get a shot at them, and we're finally getting that chance."

Oklahoma (28-4) hasn't lost a Big 12 game this season, sweeping all 16 regular-season and its two tournament games. The Sooners beat Baylor twice, but only by a combined seven points. While both are going to the NCAA Tournament, it seems fitting that Oklahoma and Baylor will play to determine the title.

"I think that Baylor is clearly - and you guys gave me all kinds of grief for saying this during Big 12 play - but clearly they are the second-best team in the league," Sooners coach Sherri Coale said. "They finished in second place, and they separated themselves, is my point, from the guys that where behind them."

The Sooners played only one conference game closer than their two victories against Baylor. That was a 60-59 victory at Texas Tech in the regular-season finale that was retiring Red Raiders coach Marsha Sharp's last home game.

Kendra Moore made two three-pointers in the final 17 seconds Jan. 21 in Waco - the last with 0.8 seconds left - for a 73-70 victory that ended Baylor's 25-game home winning streak. Three weeks later in Norman, Courtney Paris had 31 points and 19 rebounds, but the Sooners needed overtime to pull out an 81-77 victory.

Baylor advanced to the championship game for the third time with a 53-52 victory over No. 22 Texas A&M; on Thursday night. The Bears won their first Big 12 tournament last year, en route to winning the NCAA title, and lost, 84-69, to Oklahoma in the 2002 Big 12 tournament title game - the only other time they've met in the event.

"I hope it will be a showcase," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson said.


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