On Sunday afternoon, the No. 2 seed West Virginia women’s basketball team was defeated by the No. 1 seed Baylor Lady Bears in the Big 12 Championship game, by a final score of 76-50.
This was West Virginia’s (21-6, 13-5 Big 12) first Big 12 Championship game appearance since 2017, when it upset Baylor to win the conference title.
The Mountaineers couldn’t find a rhythm today, shooting just 26% from the field in the title game. On the other side, Baylor (25-2, 17-1 Big 12) shot an even 50% on the day.
In a good portion of the first quarter, WVU was able to keep up with Baylor, as Esmery Martinez and Kari Niblack got the team rolling to begin the game. A 7-0 run by the Lady Bears put Baylor up by nine at the end of the first period.
The second quarter was a good start-to-finish for the Mountaineers, as they stayed with Baylor for the entirety of the quarter. The problem for West Virginia entering the locker room at halftime was déjà vu from the game on March 8 against Baylor. Three Mountaineers were in foul trouble, giving Baylor an advantage to attack on WVU’s shorthanded rotation.
Kirsten Deans tried to get WVU back into the game in the third quarter, scoring seven points in the frame but the terrible shooting by the team just couldn’t get the Mountaineers over the hump.
In the final four minutes of the game, Baylor went on a 12-0 run to finish off West Virginia and take the Big 12 Tournament Championship, as the Lady Bears won their 17th straight game.
Deans led the Mountaineers with 15 points, hitting 3-three-pointers and a perfect 6-of-6 from the line on Sunday.
Redshirt senior guard Kysre Gondrezick had a rough day, shooting just 4-of-17 (24%) from the field. Gondrezick — a unanimous All-Big 12 First Team selection — scored 13 points against Baylor.
Martinez was able to pick up 11 rebounds, as the Mountaineers needed her to get up and grab some important rebounds against a big, physical BU team. The sophomore forward finished with eight points.
The Mountaineers now will look towards the NCAA Tournament, as they will get an at-large bid to play for the national championship. West Virginia will find out their seed, opponent and region on Monday at 7 p.m. on ESPN.