While most of the attention this time of year is focused in the NCAA Men’s Tournament, the women are involved in an NCAA Tournament of there own, and the Big 12 is well represented on the women’s side as well.
The Big 12 has six women’s teams in the tournament. Four played first-round games on Saturday. Two of those teams (Baylor and Oklahoma State) won and advanced to the round of 32 on Monday. Two more (West Virginia and Texas) play their forst games in the tournament on Sunday.
The Baylor Lady Bears (30-4), the No. 2 seed in the Notre Dame Region and playing at home at the Ferrell Center, got not one, but two 20-point performances and turned away 15-seed Western Kentucky 87-74 on Saturday. Senior guard Odyssey Sims, the Big 12 Women’s Player of the Year scored 31 points, freshman forward Nina Davis did her one better with 32 points.
The opening-game win by Baylor was achieved without its head coach, Kim Mulkey, on the bench. Mulkey was serving a one-game suspension for criticizing the officials following a Baylor loss in a Sweet 16 game in last year’s NCAA Tournament
Baylor will next play No. 7-seed California (22-9) in the second round on Monday.
Oklahoma State senior point guard Tiffany Bias scored her only basket of the game on a lay up with 41 second left in overtime to propel the fifth-seeded Lady Cowgirls to a one-point 61-60 victory over Florida Gulf Coast in their opening tournament game.
The Oklahoma State senior was o for 8 before putting in the game-winning basket. The win looked somewhat improbable for the Cowgirls when they trailed by six points late in regulation before going on a 8-0 run to force the extra session.
Oklahoma State will play No. 4 Purdue on Monday.
Oklahoma, a 10 seed in the Lincoln Region, and Iowa State, the No. 7 seed in the Stanford Region, both went down in their first-round games. The Lady Cyclones were never really in the game, falling behind by a dozen points early, despite playing at home. During the season, Iowa State had the second best average home attendance in NCAA Division I basketball.
Iowa State (20-11) had just 15 field goals in the game and shot a season-worst 29 percent from the field.
Anytime a college team scores 100 points, it ordinarily signals a winning effort. That was not the case for the Oklahoma Lady Sooners on Saturday who scored 100 but, unfortunately, gave up 104 to No. 7 DePaul. It was a game of wild swings and plenty of up-and-down play. Aaryn Ellenberg of Oklahoma scored a game-high 36 points in a losing effort.
There were 140 shots taken in the Oklahoma-DePaul game, and 56 of them were three-pointers. Oklahoma’s season ends with a very average, for them, 16-15 record.
Texas and West Virginia will play their first tournament games on Sunday. The Lady Longhorns (21-11) in the Louisville Region, will play 12th-seeded University of Pennsylvania. No. 2-seed West Virginia (29-4), co-champions in the Big 12 this season, will go up against 15th-seeded Albany.