Big 12 Women's Basketball as of Feb 12

Home stretch starts right now for every women's basketball team in the Big 12 Conference: all the teams have finished at least half their league schedules, and a third of the squads own identical records to share first place. Co-leaders Kansas State, Iowa State and Texas Tech sported 8-2 records when Baylor joined the knot atop the Big 12 Conference Wednesday night.

The Lady Bears outlasted a tenacious Oklahoma team, 73-72, for a second straight road win; previously Baylor had beaten Texas Tech in Lubbock 52-49, and Kansas State in Waco, 72-62. Iowa State had owned the lead outright for a short while Saturday after they defeated the visiting Longhorns, 63-60. The Lady Raiders dominated Iowa State's Cyclones 89-62 Tuesday to collect their share of the lead as they ended a four-game home stand at break-even following the loss to Baylor, a 75-45 win over Missouri, and a 55-53 loss to Kansas State. The Wildcats enjoyed a rare idle midweek date after a 66-55 victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday. KSU had lost to Baylor after beating Colorado, Iowa State, and Texas Tech.

One game back from the tangle at the top, Texas is 7-3 and squarely in fifth place, all alone. Nebraska drops to sixth place with a 6-4 record, also alone; Texas A&M and Kansas are 3-7, tied for seventh, while Missouri and Oklahoma State are locked in a tie for tenth at 2-8, and Colorado 1-9 in sole possession of twelfth.

In other conference midweek outings, Texas dominated Nebraska in Austin 83-53 to capture sole possession of fifth place, Missouri swiped a road win in Colorado Springs 56-55, and Oklahoma State outlasted visiting Kansas, 57-54. Texas A&M played A&M-Corpus Christi Tuesday night, winning 88-64.

With the four-way tie in first, Texas owning fifth, and Nebraska's record dropping to 6-5 in conference play, it's not easy to reconcile the results of the season with the expectations that preceded it; it's still less easy to predict which teams will take what seeds to the Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Tournament in Kansas City March 8-12.

Back in October, the Big 12 Conference coaches picked Texas to win the conference practically by acclamation. The coaches estimated that the Longhorns would finish with either an outright season crown, or a share of it, for the third consecutive year – and Texas got off to a typical powerhouse start by beating Penn State.

The University of Georgia Bulldogs surprised Texas in its next game, 78-64, but the Lady Longhorns turned right around to take a 15-point win over the University of Tennessee. After the Tennessee win, UCLA caught Texas off guard again, but it looked like the surprises were over when Texas posted six straight convincing wins. Then Rutgers happened. The Scarlet Knights, then ranked No. 11 in the country, beat Texas 51-47 on the Longhorns' home court.

Bouncing back, Texas dispatched Kansas in its first Big 12 Conference game, then went to Waco to play Baylor – where the Bears, 7th-ranked nationally, fought the Longhorns to a standstill. Late Baylor errors offered Texas game-saving chances, but the Longhorns couldn't convert and the Bears pulled off a 63-60 win.

Texas' road woes increased a game later when they visited Lubbock; the 13th-ranked Lady Raiders dished out 79 points while allowing only 62, taking every possible advantage of the Longhorns' uncharacteristically inconsistent play. Oklahoma State came to Austin for the Longhorns' return home; Texas took care of business against the Cowgirls, but in its very next outing dropped a game to the University of Connecticut. The then-10th ranked Huskies won 73-57 – the third straight Longhorn loss to a team ranked in the nation's Top 15.

After that, Texas won four in a row – beating Baylor, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Texas A&M – but then they ran into the buzz saw every women's college basketball team to visit Iowa State this year has encountered. Now, they're set to host Texas Tech Sunday.

By then the four-way tie will be dissolved somehow; Saturday's games pit Oklahoma State against Baylor in Waco at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time, in a game that will be televised by Fox Sports Network; Iowa State against Nebraska at 7:05 p.m., and Texas A&M against Missouri at 7 p.m. Sunday's action tips off as Colorado visits Kansas at 1 p.m. CST; Kansas State travels to Oklahoma for a 2:10 p.m. game and Tech plays Texas at 4:20 p.m. That game is scheduled for broadcast via ESPN2.

Baylor's 18-3 overall record is the same as Iowa State's; Texas Tech and Kansas State own 17-4 identical seasons. Nebraska has 14 wins and 8 losses overall, while Texas is 14-7 for the year. Texas A&M has a 13-8 overall record; Oklahoma is 12-9, Kansas 10-11, Missouri 8-13, as is Colorado. The OSU Cowgirls are 7-13.


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