The Baylor Lady Bears and the Oklahoma State Cowgirls are on their way to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship, and Texas, a five seed, and West Virginia, a two seed, have the chance to join them after tonight.
No. 2-seeded Baylor put together a 13-2 run late in its second-round game Monday with seven-seed California that broke up a close game and fueled a 75-56 win. With the win, the Lady Bears (31-4) will be making their sixth consecutive trip to the women’s Sweet 16, where they will face No. 3 seed Kentucky, which also earned a home-court victory on Monday, defeating Syracuse 64-59.
Senior two-guard Odyssey Sims led the Bears in the scoring column with 27 points and was instrumental in Baylor’s game-changing scoring run late in the game. Forward Nina Davis, who scored 32 points in the Lady Bears’ first-round win over Western Kentucky, added 13 in the second-round win over the California’s Lady Bears.
“If you think we made it look easy, it wasn’t” said Davis in a postgame interview. “They have a lot of athletes and were jumpin’ out of the gym.”
When Baylor and Kentucky meet on Saturday in the Notre Dame Regional semifinals in South Bend, Ind., it will be the second time they have faced each other this season. That game was in early December at the AT&T Center (Cowboys Stadium) in Arlington, Texas. The Lady Wildcats won 133-130 in four overtimes in the highest-scoring game in NCAA Women’s Division I history.
The five-seed Oklahoma State women were faced with a steeper challenge than Big 12 co-champions Baylor going into their second-round contest at Purdue against the higher-seeded Lady Boilermakers. Oklahoma State jumped out to an early lead and took a 38-31 advantage into the locker room at the half.
The Cowgirls came out at the start of the second half and put up a 9-1 run, further separating themselves from the hometown team. Purdue fought back to within six points before Oklahoma State, but the Cowgirls went on another run, this time a 15-6 spurt, that all but put the game in the win column for OSU.
Oklahoma State’s All-Big 12 guard Tiffany Bias, who scored the winning shot in the Cowgirls’ opening-round tourney win, went down with an ankle injury six minutes into the second half after stepping on another player’s foot. She was taken to the locker room for medical attention. She returned from the locker room later in the half and was able to return to the game with just under three minutes remaining in the game.
The extent of the injury to Bias and her availability for the Cowgirls next game were not immediately known after the game.
“I think it will be fine,” Bias said after the game with Purdue with a ice bag on her injured ankle. “Our trainer is great, and we’ll do a whole bunch of rehab between now and then. But we’ve got great players, too.”
Oklahoma State now gets to go up against another team that will be playing on its home court: undefeated and top-seeded Notre Dame (34-0). That game is set for Saturday.
The Lady Bears and Cowgirls will both be in South Bend for the round of 16.
Texas (5) and West Virginia (2) are at seventh-seeded LSU (20-12) and No. 4 seed Maryland (25-6), respectively, Tuesday night with a chance to punch their tickets to the women’s Sweet 16 and join Baylor and Oklahoma State as teams from the Big 12 still in the hunt for the 2014 women’s national championship.