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2017’s painful experience fuels Baylor’s return to Big 12 Title game

Baylor stormed out to a 28-13 lead at the end of the first against TCU and never looked back. The Lady Bears will now advance to back to the Big 12 Conference Tournament Championship game.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma City, OK — Sunday afternoon, TCU and No. 3 Baylor squared off in the semifinals for the Big 12 Conference Tournament. Here are key takeways from the match-up:

Baylor brings the experience

Today marked the first time TCU has played in a Big 12 Conference Women’s Basketball Championship semifinal game. Baylor on the other hand, is no stranger to high pressure games. The Lady Bears have won seven of the past eight Big 12 Championships. Baylor’s experience prevailed in today’s matchup, knocking off TCU 94-48.

After the game, Lauren Cox said last year’s loss in the Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship will serve as motivation this year.

“It’s a huge motivator,” Cox said. “We always want to win. We hate to lose. There are two great teams out there that are going to battle it out, and we’re going to have to face one of them tomorrow and play our game.”

Baylor Big Kelani Brown

Kelani Brown led the way for all scorers once again, while snagging a double-double in today’s performance. Brown scored 28 points coupled with 11 rebounds. Brown’s rebounds are even more impressive when you compare it to TCU’s 19 for the entire game. Baylor out rebounded TCU 49-19, and the Lady bears outscored the Horned Frogs 55-22 in the paint.

“Coach prepared us for that,” Brown said on being ready for TCU’s physicality. “We know TCU is very physical and a tough team. We expected that for the most part. Coach just told us to keep a cool head in a hot game, so that’s what we did.”

Horned Frogs inconsistent scoring

TCU struggled offensively, shooting only 32 percent from the field and 22 percent from three-point range.

Baylor on the other hand shot 60 percent from the field and 40 percent from behind the arc. The Lady Bears hot shooting was a new record in the Big 12 Tournament. Baylor also had four players reach double figures: Alexis Morris scored 18 points, Cox had a double-double logging 19 points and 11 rebounds, Juicy Landrum added 13 points, and Brown scored 28.

Baylor team Managers make their second game appearance

Baylor’s roster has become smaller and smaller this season credited to unfortunate player injuries. In Sunday’s game verses TCU, former Baylor Lady Bear team managers, who are now scholarship athletes, took the floor in the final minutes of the game.

The former managers made their debut in the Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship quarterfinals game.

“She has done really well with not working us too hard, because we only have, what, eight players that are playing now, “ Cox said on keeping Mulkey keeping the reseves motivated despite not seeing the court much. “So she has to be smart about resting us, and she has really prepared us for this.”

Head Coach Kim Mulkey said you can’t predict the outcome of a game or whether or not you will be able to give the starters breathers.

“You just keep coaching,” Mulkey said. “And sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Sometimes you win by big margins. Sometimes you can put the managers on the floor in two straight games. Sometimes you can’t.”

Baylor will move on to face Texas Monday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.