WACO, Texas — The West Virginia women’s biggest win ever? Maybe.

A stunning way for No. 6 Baylor to suffer its first Big 12 home loss in four years? Definitely.

Now both teams figure to share the Big 12 regular-season title after the No. 11 Mountaineers rallied for a 71-69 win before 8,242 at the Ferrell Center.

Down by a point in what became a frantic finish, West Virginia’s trapping defense corralled national player of the year candidate Odyssey Sims, whose bad pass was intercepted by Averee Fields and returned for the go-ahead layup with 12 seconds left.

That was the 10th turnover of the game for Sims, the dynamic point guard who scored 39 points nonetheless and had a shot at redemption with 4 seconds left only to miss a contested jumper. After Baylor’s Nina Davis lost the rebound out of bounds with 1.4 seconds left, the Bears fouled Linda Stepney, who made 1-of-2 free throws.

“I’m very proud of the team—it was a great win,” said Mountaineers coach Mike Carey, whose team won its ninth straight and improved to 26-3 overall and 15-2 in the Big 12.

Asya Bussie produced 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting before fouling out and Christal Caldwell scored 12 of her 17 in the second half, keeping alive West Virginia’s quest to win its first conference championship since 1992.

Baylor (25-4, 15-2), unbeaten in its last 35 league home games, shot 35 percent and was held 16 points below its scoring average.

Sims, the country’s most prolific scorer, sank 13-of-18 at the foul line but concluded her final regular-season home game only 13-of-30 from the floor. Her teammates combined for only seven additional baskets, so there was little doubt Sims would have the ball as Baylor led 69-68 after WVU’s Bria Holmes fouled out on a charge with 35 seconds left.

But then came Sims’ errant pass, deflected to Fields after West Virginia’s Stepney and Crysta Leary trapped the All-American.

“They were trapping for like 5 or 10 seconds … and I was just trying to watch where (Sims) was going,” Fields said. “I think Linda tipped the pass, so it was wide-open for me.”

Bears coach Kim Mulkey called Sims’ turnover a rare mistake, considering Baylor had timeouts and West Virginia eventually needed to foul, given the five-second difference in the game and shot clocks.

“Odyssey, she’s going to be a woman and she’s going to be blame herself … but she shouldn’t beat herself up,” Mulkey said. “If I had it to do over again, the ball would be in her hands.”

Said Sims: “I figured they would foul, but I turned it over and gave it up too quick.”

West Virginia, which lost to Baylor by 16 in Morgantown earlier this season with Sims scoring 48, trailed 58-51 with 8:16 remaining as Bussie sat with her fourth foul. That’s when the guards took over, forging a 10-0 run highlighted by Caldwell’s game-tying jumper and a go-ahead 3 that gave WVU its first lead at 61-58.

It was the first of eight lead changes in the final 5:20.

“I felt like we were in one of those old boxing matches, those old prize fights, where it’s who’s going to fall first,” Mulkey said.

West Virginia shot 50 percent from the field, becoming the first team to do so against Baylor in 281 games, a streak that dated back to 2006.

Said Mulkey: “I’ve got to go back and look at film and go ‘Wow, is our defense that bad or did they shoot the ball that good?'”

Carey wanted his team to play more fearless than it had in the previous meeting.

“I just felt like the first time we played them, we weren’t aggressive at all—offensively, defensively— kind of sitting back, kind of intimidated,” Carey said. “This game I thought we were aggressive. I just wanted everybody to know that we showed up today, and our girls did a good job of that.”

The Big 12 race now boils down to a pair of Tuesday night games. The Mountaineers host Kansas (12-17, 5-12), while Baylor faces a tougher matchup at Iowa State (20-8, 9-8).

“I thought the crowd was outstanding, and I thought the setting was perfect, but we just didn’t get it done there at the end,” Mulkey said. “I’m disappointed, but I’m not disappointed to the extent that we lost the Big 12 championship. We now may just have to share it.”

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  • Dave

    Great victory for the Lady Mountaineers. Mike Carey and this Senior loaded team is playing out of their minds. Looks like a BIG12 Championship to me. Congratulations Ladies.


  • rob robison

    great team great coach!!!!

  • richard

    WTG ladies. great win. proud of you.

  • jack

    Congratulations ladies on a great win and also an outstanding season. You play with heart, desire, and you don't quit. Coach Carey does an incredible job and we thank him for being at WVU. Let's go beat Kansas now.

  • jwg66

    This was a very physical and somewhat ugly game. Our ladies never backed down in spite all that was against them. The last 2 calls on Bussie were horrible. It seemed tlike we had to take 2-3 hits before we would get a call. Anyone know how hard it is to win at the D1 level on the road? And on their SENIOR nite? Timely shooting and defense and good decisions down the stretch! It was fun to watch. Wow what a great win for the school and program!

  • Ernie

    Way to go ladies. You showed great poise and persistence. You exemplified Mountaineer pride by your hard work in overcoming a tough opponent on their court, missed foul shots and some bad calls. We should have a big crowd Tuesday night to reward them. Lets goooo Mountaineers!!!!!!!

  • MrBill

    Great win!! I thought there was some very bad calls against the Mountaineers, like walking before a shot under the basket, a called block shot that was obviously a foul and three charging fouls that replay will show the wrong calls In spite of this they preserved and won. Big Congratulations to the girls and coach Carey and staff,. Great day to be a Mountaineer!!

  • Billy

    Wow, what a game. This so far is the highlight to the WVU sports year. Baylor was ripe for a loss, but to be fair they were beaten by a better TEAM. If they did not have Simms, their stock would drop fast. She sure gets all the calls form the zebras. Throughly enjoyed this win.

  • Grant

    Great win! Keep focused and bring home the regular season crown!

  • John E. King

    I was looking at the box score on this game and noticed these interesting numbers: WVU scored 27 FG's to Baylors 20; it was WVU scoring 7 three pointer to Baylor's one (1), however the difference was the foul line- WVU had 10 points while Baylor scored 28. Proving the old adage that making free throws can win ball games.

  • Fentanyl Bomb

    Great win against a great team. Tough until the last second. Way to go, Lady 'Eers!

  • Aaron

    I thought the win at Notre Dame a few years ago was big but I think this is definitely a bigger win. To share a Big 12 Championship in year 2, that's huge.

    Great win ladies.

    It's a great day to be a Mountaineer.

  • CaptainQ


    They're going to the NCAA 'big dance' for sure, unlike the men.....

  • 4WVUinKY

    Congratulations Ladies! Let's take the whole thing this year....all the best!

  • Mike

    Great win by lady EERS. They hung in there and won despite some late home-cook'in given to Baylor. What a great season...here we come Final Four!