OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Baylor didn’t want another close call against Oklahoma.
The fourth-ranked Lady Bears struggled to shake the Sooners off in both regular-season wins, but they were in full control Sunday. Alexis Jones had 19 points and 11 assists to help Baylor defeat 24th-ranked Oklahoma 84-57 in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals.
In the second regular-season meeting, Oklahoma rallied from a 19-point deficit to nearly pull the upset.
”We knew that we couldn’t let up because they came back on us in their home court,” Jones said. ”We knew we just couldn’t let up, so we kept trying to fight and keep pushing through it.”
Nina Davis scored 15 points, Kalani Brown had 13 and Alexis Prince added 10 for the Lady Bears (32-1), who shot 56 percent.
”I thought several things were key to the game today – to keep the crowd out of it, because … you’re playing in OU’s backyard,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. ”I thought our defense had to be much better than it was the two previous times that we played them. I thought that our bench had to be better than their bench, and I thought we had to get to the foul line and make free throws.
”I thought we did all three as good as we can do it.”
Jones fell one assist short of the Big 12 Tournament record.
”The biggest challenge with coaching her has been, she can do things with the basketball in her hands that most girls can’t,” Mulkey said. ”But she has to learn those teammates aren’t ready for that, so that’s your turnover. So she has to learn how to work within what they’re capable of doing.”
Baylor has won 12 of the past 13 matchups with the Sooners. Sunday’s victory was their 19th straight overall and their 17th in a row in conference tournament play. Baylor will go for its sixth consecutive Big 12 Tournament title Monday night.
Derica Wyatt scored 12 points, Maddie Manning had 11 and Gioya Carter added 10 for the Sooners (21-10). Oklahoma shot just 30 percent and was outrebounded 41-31.
Baylor shot 73 percent in the first quarter to go up 26-12, and the Lady Bears extended their lead to 47-28 at halftime.
”I thought initially the fact that we didn’t get back and guard is what started this slippery slope of going downhill,” Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. ”We’ve seen that happen a number of times this year in that when we get shocked by something – another team making great plays or fouls not being called or guys running in transition with advantage, whatever.”
”It’s not about the points she scored. It’s not about the 3s she hit. It’s the mere fact that she facilitated out there for her teammates and got them easy shots by not turning them over.”
– Mulkey on Jones
Oklahoma: Sophomore Vionise Pierre-Louis, the conference sixth man of the year who got her first double-double Saturday against Oklahoma State, finished with seven points on 2-for-5 shooting against Baylor. … The Sooners fell to 16-7 in Oklahoma City, including a 10-5 mark under Coale. … Kaylon Williams fouled out with seven points and five rebounds.
Baylor: This was Baylor’s first conference tournament win over Oklahoma in five tries. … The Lady Bears outscored Oklahoma 11-0 in fast-break points in the first half. … They went scoreless for the first 3:20 of the third quarter. … Baylor committed 21 turnovers.
Oklahoma: Awaits NCAA Tournament bid.
Baylor: Big 12 title game Monday.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP .