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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Nina Davis took little credit for her 24-point outburst.
That, she said, should go to Kristy Wallace. Baylor’s point guard set a Big 12 Tournament record with 15 assists to help the second-ranked Bears defeat No. 24 Kansas State 88-71 on Sunday in the semifinals.
“She gets pretty much all the credit, 99.1 percent,” Davis said. “The other half is us finishing the shot. We go as Kristy goes. All season long, she’s been our Energizer Bunny. She never gets tired.”
Wallace matched her career high for assists in a game.
“She is just a great player,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “She can play through fouls. She can play through blood. She can play through a turnover, and she just is somebody you would sure like to be on the receiving end of her passes because she just gives it to you where you can finish.”
Alexis Prince and Kalani Brown each scored 18 points for Baylor (30-2), which goes for its seventh straight tournament championship Monday night when it plays West Virginia, which defeated No. 12 Texas 62-59 in the other semifinal.
Davis said she won’t take the opportunity for granted.
“Winning never gets old,” she said. “If I’m ever in a position where winning championships becomes the same-old same-old, it’s time for me to stop playing basketball.”
Karyla Middlebrook scored 20 points, Kindred Wesemann had 15 points and Breanna Lewis added 14 points and 11 rebounds for Kansas State (22-10), which had won four of its previous five games.
Baylor led 52-38 at halftime behind 16 points from Davis. Prince had 15 points on 5-for-5 shooting at the break, and the Lady Bears shot 59 percent from the floor in the first half. Baylor’s largest lead was 22 points in the second half.
Kansas State’s biggest concern came in the closing minutes when Wesemann, an All-Big 12 first-team performer, hurt her right arm. Coach Jeff Mittie said after the game that he’s not sure how she’s doing.
“They’re looking at her right now,” he said. “I think that the best thing I can tell you is we’re hoping that it’s a little pulled muscle, but I ask the doctors not to coach and they ask me not to be doctor. So I try to abide by that.”
Kansas State won’t be penalized for losing at a neutral site to a team that has steamrolled most of its competition. Baylor beat Kansas State by 30 on Dec. 29 and by 42 on Jan. 25. The Lady Bears have done the same to numerous good teams this season. They beat No. 19 Oklahoma 103-64 last Monday.
Baylor added another quality win to its resume and boosted its case for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Lady Bears scored at least 88 points for the third straight game. It was Baylor’s 11th victory over a ranked team this season.
Kansas State’s loss came against a better opponent than most of the teams in the poll near the Wildcats will have, so they shouldn’t be affected much. Baylor solidified its No. 2 ranking.
Baylor made 16 of 17 free throws, while Kansas State made 11 of 25.
“We had our opportunities,” Mittie said. “We were doing a great job of getting to the free throw line. We just weren’t converting.”
Kansas State committed just eight turnovers. Baylor’s Brown had 12 rebounds. … Baylor made 6 of 10 3-pointers. … Middlebrook’s point total was her second-highest of the season.
Mulkey, on playing for another championship: “I get a paycheck. That’s what we’re supposed to do.”
Kansas State will likely play in the NCAA Tournament.
Baylor will play West Virginia in the Big 12 championship game on Monday.
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