2:30 PM ET, January 27, 2007
STILLWATER, Okla. -- Baylor's lead had just shrunk to three points late in the game when Bernice Mosby rose up and shot over two Oklahoma State defenders.
The ball swished through the basket -- just as it had done much of the night for Mosby -- providing a critical momentum boost for the Lady Bears (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today; No. 13 AP), who pulled away in the final minutes for a 66-55 win Saturday.
Mosby had 23 points and nine rebounds and Rachel Allison added 14 points and 12 rebounds for Baylor (18-3, 5-2 Big 12), which won its third straight game after back-to-back losses earlier this month to Oklahoma and Texas A&M.
Against Oklahoma State (15-5, 3-4), the Lady Bears have won eight straight and 12 of their last 14. All of Oklahoma State's conference losses this season have come against teams in the Big 12 South Division.
Offensively, at least, Mosby carried the Lady Bears, who shot 39.7 percent from the field and struggled at times to find openings in Oklahoma State's defense.
"Bernice came out at the right time and filled a void in our rotation of players when it was much needed," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "As you saw today, Bernice is, in my opinion, one of the top two players in our league."
Oklahoma State coach Kurt Budke compared the 6-foot-1 senior transfer from Florida to another Baylor star -- Sophia Young, who ended her career last season as the Big 12's leading career scorer.
"We played a great Baylor team with a great player in Mosby," Budke said. "I thought Young was pretty good, but Mosby is every bit of that, if not better. She just rises up above you and sticks that jump shot in your face. I thought we defended her well, but she was able to make some tough shots on us. For an inexperienced team like us, that can be deflating."
None of Mosby's shots were bigger than the one after Oklahoma State closed within 51-48 on a 3-pointer by Maria Cordero with 6:11 left. That started a decisive 8-0 run that put Baylor up 59-48 with 3:33 left. The Cowgirls came no closer than eight points after that.
Mosby narrowly missed what would have been her sixth straight double-double.
"We've been in such tight games with this group all year that you expect tight games," Mulkey said. "We learned from the losses that we had not to do some of the same things."
Baylor trailed only once, in the game's early stages, and led by nine points early in the second half. Oklahoma State closed within three points on three occasions, but the Cowgirls never could tie the game or take the lead.
"At key times, Baylor hit their shots and we did not," said Budke, whose team went 0-16 in Big 12 play last season. "But our players never quit.
"I thought our players showed that we have taken a little step and that we are closing the gap a little bit."
Oklahoma State committed 20 turnovers and shot 31 percent from the field. Cordero went 5-of-6 from 3-point range and scored 21 points for the Cowgirls, while Rashidat Sadiq added eight points and 12 rebounds.
Baylor started slowly, missing four of its first five shots, but led by as many as nine points before settling for a 35-29 halftime lead. Baylor led 21-12 before a 9-0 Oklahoma State run tied the game with 6:33 left in the first half. The Lady Bears answered by scoring 10 of the next 12 points to re-establish their lead.
"You always want the momentum at the end of the half and you want to make sure the first five minutes of the second half you don't lose momentum," Mulkey said.