Baylor is the Big 12 Conference champion, all alone at the top with a 14-2 mark as the No. 7 Bears beat 13th-ranked Texas Tech handily Thursday night in Waco, 79-69.
The Bears never trailed, running out to an 11-2 lead. Tech's Lady Raiders never got closer than 36-33 despite a sparkling performance by freshman guard Judith Smith. She scored 14 points, grabbed five rebounds, and dished out four assists in the game of her collegiate career.
Tech ended its road season as it began – with a loss in a huge game, to a physical team in front of a hostile crowd. The loss, the second-worst defeat Tech suffered this year, appeared to result from a combination of Bears' shooting out the lights throughout the ball game and inconsistency in Tech's overall play.
"I think they jumped out and shot the ball so well early that it kinda got us behind," assistant coach Linden Weese said after the debacle at the Ferrell Center.
LaToya Davis led all scorers in the game with 19 points. She earned eight rebounds and a steal, turning in the best overall performance of any Tech player with 8-for-10 field goal shooting.
Alesha Robertson had two points on 1-of-4 field goal shooting, missing her only attempt from three-point country while playing just 18 minutes. Chesley Dabbs sank three of her six shots from the field. Erin Grant had eight points, six assists and a steal in her 40 minutes on the floor; backup point guard Brooke Baughman appeared briefly.
Cisti Greenwalt scored 14 points, had four rebounds and an assist, and set a new Tech single-season record for blocked shots. She started the game with 90, and had three against the Bears.
Freshman Darrice Griffin had six points, two rebounds and a steal in her 17 minutes. Smith's 14 points came in 27 minutes.
Baylor's arena was sold out for the game. Led by Steffanie Blackmon's 17 points, the Bears opened up a 25-12 lead in the first half. Tech mounted a run as the opening period wound down to draw within three on Davis' lay-up at the 1:43 mark.
Baylor then took control of the game back for keeps. Although both teams gave up 11 turnovers and finished the game with 17 personal fouls, the Bears collected 30 rebounds overall while Tech only collared 29. Poor free throw shooting hurt Tech as well; Lady Raider charity shooters missed half their 16 attempts. The Bears, by contrast, hit 16 of 20 from the line.
"They've had great fight, they've never backed down anywhere. If you're gonna survive in the NCAA tournament, the Big 12 tournament, you've got to have that," Weese said of the Lady Raider team's overall effort, "and we got that tonight."
Baylor's Chelsea Whitaker left the game with a sprained ankle early in the first half but returned to plague Tech all night. She finished with 16 points while earning a rebound, a steal and eight assists.
Sophia Young had 15 points for the Bears, along with an even dozen boards. Abiola Wabara scored 10 points and had two rebounds, while Chameka Scott finished with nine points. Baylor got points from Jordan Davis and Chanelle Fox, each of whom sank two free throws, and Emily Niemann, who had eight points, including a pair of treys, two rebounds, and one assist in 20 minutes before leaving the game at the 2:00 mark with a sprained ankle.
The Lady Raiders fall to 21-6 for the season. The Bears finish at 24-3. Tech's next game will be played in the Big 12 Conference Tournament in Kansas City.