1:00 PM ET, January 8, 2005
WACO, Texas (AP) -- Baylor has emerged as arguably the power in the state of Texas and the Big 12 South division.The Lady Bears (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 3 AP) took yet another huge step in their amazing five-year run from Big 12 doormat to national title contender with a 63-60 win over No. 7 Texas on Saturday.Baylor finished last in the Big 12 before coach Kim Mulkey-Roberston took over five years ago in Waco.The Lady Bears had beaten Texas under Mulkey-Robertson before, but Saturday's game marked the first time that Baylor was ranked higher than the Longhorns. It was the first time two Top 10 teams had met in the Ferrell Center.Baylor (12-1, 2-0) responded well to the pressure as a record crowd of 10,322 watched the frontcourt duo of Sophia Young and Steffanie Blackmon carry them to the win. Young had 25 points and 15 rebounds and Blackmon had 19 points and six boards."Baylor plays with the fight and fire of Kim's personality," said Texas coach Jody Conradt. "Everyone that comes here will have to match it."Mulkey-Robertson noted the significance of beating Texas and Conradt, a member of the 800-win club in women's college basketball."I've played and coached in a lot of arenas and (today) was special," Mulkey-Robertson said. "What a great game. One game does not make a season, but I sure am glad this one is over."The Bears have won 12 straight since opening the season with a one-point loss to No. 1 LSU -- on Texas' home court. The Longhorns (8-4, 1-1) opened the season ranked No. 2 but have nearly matched last season's five losses already.Young and Blackmon were so effective in getting to the basket that Baylor outscored Texas in the paint 40-20 and attempted just two 3-pointers.Defensively, Young and Blackmon shut down Texas' top scorer, sophomore center Tiffany Jackson, who finished with nine points on 3-of-13 shooting and didn't have a field goal after the first possession of the second half."It's hardnosed defense. Every time Jackson made her spin move, Sophia moved there before she did," Mulkey-Robertson said.Young said Jackson played right into the Baylor scouting report that said she wouldn't shoot off her first move."We knew she'd make a second or third," Young said. "I was just trying to get there before she did."Nina Norman led Texas with 16 points, Jamie Carey had 14 and Heather Schreiber 11.Young had eight points in a 3-minute span of the second half -- routinely going over Jackson for buckets and rebounds -- to forge a tie at 58, and Abiola Wabara's free throw gave the Bears the lead at 59-58."Sophia's relentless on the boards," Conradt said. "I don't know too many people that can jump as quick and as high as she can."Baylor, which feasted on offensive rebounding for 23 second-chance points, had none bigger than Chameka Scott's putback of her own miss that pushed the lead to 61-58 before Texas cut it back to one behind Carey's free throws.Baylor then committed two straight turnovers and gave Texas a chance to win. But Carey missed an open shot on the baseline and Jackson, swarmed by three defenders in the lane, turned the ball over on Texas' next possession and fouled Young.A 61 percent free-throw shooter this season, Young swished both of her shots with 20 seconds left for the final margin."It was nerve-racking," Young said. "I have worked hard on this part of my game because I have struggled in the past."Texas tried to set up a last-second 3-pointer to tie, but Carey had to track down a wild pass before launching a wild 25-footer that bounced off the rim.
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