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PHILLIPS 66 BIG 12 WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP - FINAL
22-10, 9-9 Conf
64
Final
12T
TEX352964
BAY403575
75
30-3, 16-2 Conf

Baylor bests in-state rival Texas to collect 5th straight Big 12 title

DALLAS -- Nina Davis, Niya Johnson and No. 5 Baylor never tire of the confetti celebrations, the championship caps and cutting down the nets.

The Lady Bears, after winning their fifth consecutive Big 12 regular-season title in a season they weren't even the preseason favorite, clinched their fifth conference tournament championship in a row with a 75-64 win over Texas on Monday night.

"Yes, this is the fifth year in a row, but we don't have five rings. This is only our second one of this season," said Davis, the sophomore post player who was the coaches' pick as the league's top player in the regular season and now has been voted the outstanding player in both of her Big 12 tournaments. "So it's definitely an exciting time."

After scoring 59 points in the first two tournament games, Davis had 16 points and 11 rebounds as Baylor (30-3) won its seventh Big 12 tournament overall.

"You have to remember that there are a lot of kids in that locker room, this is their first," coach Kim Mulkey said. "I want everybody to be as excited today as they were the very first one we won."

While Davis had only one basket after halftime, Alexis Prince scored 10 of her 13 points during that same span. Prince had a couple of big 3-pointers, the first set up by her impressive defensive play.

The Lady Bears clinched the league's automatic NCAA tournament berth, although they already were a sure bet to play a first-round game at home -- maybe even as a No. 1 seed.

Texas (22-10) was in its first Big 12 tournament final since 2004, a year after winning it and then going all the way to the NCAA Final Four.

The Longhorns were actually the preseason Big 12 favorite, but their season took a terrible turn when leading scorer and rebounder Nneka Enemkpali suffered a season-ending knee injury in a 75-58 loss at Baylor on Jan. 19, when they also were a top-10 team.

They have recovered of late, winning seven of their last eight before losing in the tournament final, and should be in the NCAA tournament.

"I just want to say how proud of our basketball team I am. It was a long few weeks for us," coach Karen Aston said. "I felt like we really need to show a sense of urgency within our team down the stretch of league play and obviously in this tournament. I think that our team did that."

Imani Wright had 14 points for the Lady Bears while Sune Agbuke had 10 points and eight rebounds. Johnson, the junior point guard, had seven points, five rebounds and seven assists.

"We just want to keep it going," Johnson said of the five consecutive regular-season and conference titles.

Imani McGee-Stafford had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Texas, while Empress Davenport scored 13 points.

Brianna Taylor was driving toward the Texas basket when she went up and Prince stripped the ball cleanly out of her hands. At the other end, Prince got the ball back from Wright and hit a 3 that put the Lady Bears ahead 47-38 with 18:10 left.

Prince hit another 3 from the right wing only a few feet in front of Mulkey on the sideline midway through the second half with Texas in the midst of a nearly six-minute scoring drought. It put the Lady Bears up 64-46.

"Just wanted to provide a spark," Prince said. "And get off to a better start than I did the start of the game."

PRESSED ENDING

All the Baylor starters came out of the game with 1:17 left after Davis made a layup to make it 75-55. The Texas starters finished the game and scored the last nine points. Mulkey said she didn't like the way the game ended with Texas pressing with starters on the floor. "But that's her prerogative and that's her team to do that," Mulkey said, referring to Aston, once her assistant coach.

TIP-INS

Texas: The Longhorns lead the overall series against their in-state rival 57-32 but have lost the past 11 games since a win in Waco in the 2010 regular-season finale.

Baylor: The Lady Bears secured their fifth consecutive 30-win season and sixth in Mulkey's 15 seasons. ... Baylor never trailed after scoring the game's first six points, although Texas responded with six straight points for the game's only tie.

UP NEXT

Texas: Waiting for NCAA tournament bids to find out where the Longhorns will play.

Baylor: Hosting first-round NCAA tournament game either March 20 or March 21.

BACKCOURT CALL

Davis was bringing the ball up the court and closing in on a defender midway through the first half when she passed the ball back to Johnson coming across the midcourt stripe. Although Johnson's body was clearly past the line, she hadn't yet put a foot down and established herself in the frontcourt. It was a backcourt violation.