DALLAS (AP) -- Baylor is back in the Big 12 tournament
championship game. And just like last year, the Lady Bears got
there with a one-point win.
Sophia Young scored 29 points and Angela Tisdale hit four free
throws in the final minute to help No. 10 Baylor hold off
Texas A&M (No. 23 ESPN/USA Today; No. 22 AP) 53-52 Thursday night in the tournament semifinals.
Baylor (24-5) beat Texas Tech 58-57 in last year's Big 12
semifinals. The win propelled them to a Big 12 tourney title and
eventually a national championship.
Baylor will play No. 8 Oklahoma in the championship game
Saturday night. Oklahoma beat Missouri 75-54 in the other semifinal
"I thought when the game was on the line, we did exactly what
we needed to do to win it," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson
said. "Angela Tisdale stepped up and made big free throws like the
warrior she is. I thought the last stand for us defensively was
Texas A&M (23-8) had a chance to tie on its last possession. But
A'Quonesia Franklin badly missed a 3-pointer that could have tied
it. Danielle Gant grabbed the miss near the rim and hit a layup at
the buzzer for the final score.
"We were going for an open 3-pointer," Franklin said. "Baylor
has a great defense. I just couldn't get a good shot."
Franklin had 14 points and Gant added 10 for the Aggies, who
were playing in their first Big 12 tournament semifinals.
The Lady Bears have beaten the Aggies 13 straight times,
including an 84-59 win on Feb. 15. It was much different Thursday
as neither team led by more than five.
After Young's layup brought Baylor within 38-36 with 10:11 to
play, neither team led by more than two until the final minute.
"This game means a lot because we're trying to win a
tournament," Young said. "I guess we're all excited because we
played so well tonight. I thought everybody stepped up."
Baylor took the lead for good at 49-47 on Chameka Scott's layup
with 2:46 to play.
After both teams went scoreless on their next two possessions,
Patrice Reado hit one of two free throws to get Texas A&M within
49-48 with 34.4 seconds left.
Tisdale, who scored eight points and was 6-of-6 from the foul
line, hit two free throws to extend the lead to 51-48.
Gant cut the lead back to one on a layup with 20.5 seconds left,
and Tisdale responded with two more free throws to put Baylor ahead
53-50 with 17.2 seconds left.
Baylor made its last 10 free throws to finish 15-of-16 from the
line. Texas A&M was just 5-of-9 from the charity stripe.
"I don't know if I like it," Tisdale said of her late
shooting. "But if I make them, I like it."
Baylor would not have been in the game if not for Young's
Young scored 35 in the quarterfinals, one shy of the tournament
record. She responded Thursday by hitting 12-of-22 from the floor
while grabbing 10 rebounds.
"You just get down and bow to her," Texas A&M coach Gary Blair
said. "Then you're there to give her a graduation gift in May."