9:30 PM ET, March 9, 2006
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 Thursday."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 very good."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 offense.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."
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