The race for a one seed just got a lot more interesting, as the Baylor University Lady Bears fell to the West Virginia Lady Mountaineers, 71-69, in Baylor’s final home game of the season. It was the Lady Bears’ first home conference loss in four years. Senior Oddysey Sims, the nation’s leading scorer, had 39 points but also 10 turnovers, including the one that led to the winning layup by Averee Fields with 12 seconds left.
Last year, in the final season of the Britney Griner era, the Lady Bears roared (no pun intended) undefeated through their conference slate. Baylor basically annihilated everyone on the schedule. There was only one contest decided by fewer than 10 points. This year, Baylor has been almost as dominant. The problem is, so has West Virginia. Both teams have identical overall records (25-3) and identical records against upper-echelon opponents (10-2 vs. top 50 RPI teams).
Baylor crushed West Virginia in their earlier meeting, 78-62, on Jan. 8 in Morgantown. It appears that the gap between the two teams has narrowed considerably in the past two months. In all likelihood, their next meeting will come in the Big 12 tournament championship final.
Connecticut is, once again, head and shoulders above everyone else in the field. But there is a lot more parity in women’s hoops than there was five years ago, as evidenced by the fact that those Griner-led Baylor teams only won one national title. One thing is for sure: it will be a lot easier to get to the Final Four outside of UConn’s bracket. That’s what is at stake the next time Baylor and West Virginia square off.
Baylor University Lady Bears Tournament Line:
RPI (Sagarin): 4
Vs. Top 25 RPI: 8-2
Last Ten: 9-1
Good win: at West Virginia (1/8)
Bad loss: at Kansas (1/19)