- Associated Press - Saturday, March 4, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Baylor used its length to dominate Texas Tech in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament.

Alexis Prince scored 22 points to help the No. 2 Lady Bears coast to a 95-63 victory on Saturday.

The Lady Bears (29-2) moved two wins from their seventh straight conference tournament title and a likely No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament by dominating the glass, turning 21 offensive rebounds into 25 second-chance points. They face No. 24 Kansas State on Sunday.

Nina Davis had 18 points and 14 rebounds, while Kalani Brown added 14 points and 10 boards for Baylor. Guard Kristy Wallace finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

“Scoring and rebounding is something we’ve always been good at,” Davis said.

The Lady Bears shot 53.9 percent (41 for 76) and were 6 of 11 from 3-point range.

The dominant performance came a week after Baylor coach Kim Mulkey created a storm of controversy with comments to the home crowd about the school’s image stemming from the sexual assault scandal surrounding the football program.

Mulkey apologized for the comments twice in the previous week, including a tearful press conference on campus before leaving for Oklahoma City.

“It’s about these kids right now,” Mulkey said following Saturday’s game. “All you can do is say you’re sorry and move on.”

If Mulkey’s players are under duress, they haven’t shown it. They closed the regular season with a 39-point victory over No. 19 Oklahoma and didn’t lose any momentum against Texas Tech.

“We have to stick together, figure out what we’re doing wrong and weather the storm,” Davis said.

The Lady Raiders kept it competitive for a half before Baylor’s offensive rebounding took control.

“They’re really big,” Texas Tech coach Candi Whitaker said. “We’re boxing (out) and it doesn’t matter.”

Recee Caldwell scored 21 points for Texas Tech (14-17). She had 12 in the final three minutes of the first half, when she made four straight 3-point attempts.

Those shots stopped falling in the second half. Texas Tech went 10 for 24 from 3-point range, but just 3 for 11 after halftime. Arella Guirantes added 15 points, going 3 for 4 on 3-point attempts.

Texas Tech shot 40 percent (24 for 60) for the game, but cooled as Baylor heated up in the second.

The victory was Baylor’s seventh straight and third in a row by more than 30 points.

BIG PICTURE

Baylor: The Lady Bears are clicking despite one of their best players hampered by an injury. All-Big 12 guard Alexis Jones missed her fourth straight game with a knee injury. Baylor coach Kim Mulkey hasn’t announced whether Jones will play before the NCAA Tournament.

Texas Tech: Until Saturday’s fourth quarter, the Red Raiders rode a hot streak from beyond the 3-point line. Coupled with Friday’s victory over TCU, Texas Tech went 16 for 35 from 3-point range at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

TURNING POINT

Baylor only attempted 11 3-pointers, but three fell during the final 48 seconds of the third quarter. Prince and Wallace connected from long range on Baylor’s last two possessions of the quarter to lift its lead to 18 points. Baylor was in complete control the rest of the way.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Lady Bears will likely remain No. 2 in the AP Top 25 and well positioned for the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

UP NEXT

Baylor: The Lady Bears face Kansas State, which topped Iowa State 74-67 earlier Saturday.

Texas Tech: The Lady Raiders’ season is likely over after their third loss to the Bears in the last four weeks.


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