Jones helps No. 6 Baylor beat West Virginia 69-64
WACO, Texas (AP) — Khadijah Cave and No. 6 Baylor made most of the plays they needed to down the stretch to hold off West Virginia.
Alexis Jones scored 20 points and the Lady Bears used their size and experience to beat the Mountaineers 69-64 on Tuesday night.
Cave added 13 points, Kalani Brown had 12 and Kristy Wallace 10 —including a pair of free throws with 5.5 seconds left — for Baylor (17-1, 4-1 Big 12). Niya Johnson had 13 assists.
Bria Holmes scored 14 and Tynice Martin had 10 points for West Virginia (14-4, 3-2). The Mountaineers were the last team to beat Baylor in Waco, taking a 71-69 win on March 2, 2014.
With Baylor up 67-64 with eight seconds left, Jones missed two free throws. The Lady Bears were called for a lane violation and Holmes’ inbounds pass was stolen at midcourt by Wallace. She was fouled with 5.5 seconds left and made both free shots for the final margin.
“That was big-girl basketball out there tonight,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “We executed a couple of times with about a minute-and-40 to go. We got (Cave) a look right there.”
The game was tied at 60 when Johnson passed to Cave inside, who hit a layup and was fouled by Jessica Morton. Cave made the free throw, West Virginia missed a 3 and Wallace drained a 3, with an assist from Johnson, for a 66-60 Baylor lead with 38 seconds left.
The Lady Bears were up 58-55 in the fourth before both teams went cold. Holmes made one of two free throws, grabbed an offensive rebound and hit a short jumper to tie the game with 4:13 left. West Virginia took a 60-58 lead on a jumper by Martin with 3:19 remaining. Baylor answered with a layup by Cave — the Lady Bears’ first field goal of the fourth period — after a touch pass from Johnson, her 11th assist of the game.
“I attribute that (drought) to defense, fatigue. Just two good teams battling. Some of it is we couldn’t execute because of (West Virginia’s) defense,” Mulkey said.
Baylor got out to a double-digit lead when Cave converted a 3-point play for a 19-9 advantage with 1:14 left in the first quarter. West Virginia tied the game at 22 with 7:37 remaining in the second, and the Mountaineers took a 29-26 lead on a 3 by Muldrow with 4:51 to play, prompting Mulkey to call a timeout.
Baylor briefly took back the lead on a layup by Johnson with 26 seconds left, but Roberson had a rebound and putback at the buzzer to give West Virginia a 35-34 halftime lead.
Jones scored 12 — including three 3s — in Baylor’s 13-4 run to open the second half and the Lady Bears took a 44-37 lead with 6:30 to play in the third.
Baylor led 49-41 before Martin scored six consecutive and pulled the Mountaineers to within two with 2:50 left in the third. The Lady Bears got the advantage back up to eight and led 55-51 at the end of the period.
West Virginia coach Mike Carey said that his team’s inexperience played into the loss.
“You have to understand. We have 11 new players that wasn’t on this basketball team last year, out of 14,” he said. “We had a lot of freshmen in there at the end of the game. This type of game is good for them. On the road, a great crowd.”
West Virginia: Carey was looking for his 600th career win. He won 288 games at Salem College and has won 311 games in 15 years at West Virginia.
Baylor: Junior guard Alexis Prince played in just her second game after missing 14 games following arthroscopic surgery on her right knee on Nov. 18. She played 10 minutes in the team’s 72-55 win over TCU on Saturday.
DISHING IT: Johnson has 844 assists in her collegiate career, which ties the Big 12 record held by Erin Grant, who played at Texas Tech from 2003-06.
YOUNG GUNS: West Virginia has eight freshmen and two sophomores on its roster. Guard Bria Holmes, the team’s leading scorer at 17 points a game, is one of just three seniors.
West Virginia hosts Kansas on Saturday.
Baylor plays at No. 4 Texas on Sunday.