MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — During the buildup to West Virginia-Baylor, a women’s rematch for which excitement has percolated for weeks, even coach Mike Carey embraced the hype.
“I’m not going to be naive and tell the players it’s just another game,” Carey said. “They know better.”
No. 6 Baylor (25-3, 15-1) can lock up the Big 12 title with a win Sunday, but No. 11 West Virginia (25-3, 14-2) remains in hot pursuit and can forge a tie entering the regular season’s final week. Tipoff is 2:30 p.m. Eastern on FoxSports1.
The Bears won 78-62 in Morgantown on Jan. 8, thanks to a career-best 48 points from guard Odyssey Sims, the nation’s leading scorer at 29.9 per game.
“We’ve got to change up defensively,” Carey joked before the Mountaineers left for Waco. “I’m not the smartest guy, but what we did last time didn’t work. I don’t think you stop her, but you can’t let her have 48.”
Said Mountaineers senior center Asya Bussie about the defensive emphasis required to slow Sims: “If you stop her, you stop Baylor.”
West Virginia has won eight straight games to remain in contention for the conference championship, something that would carry special meaning for a winning program long overshadowed in the Big East by the likes of UConn and Notre Dame—and now attempting to knockoff Big 12 kingpin Baylor.
“It means everything, especially with five seniors,” said WVU guard Christal Caldwell. “It’s a big deal”