OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The Big 12 women’s tournament followed the chalk, resulting in what almost seemed like a preordained conclusion: West Virginia-Baylor Part III.

After separating themselves from the pack during the regular season, the co-champion Mountaineers (29-3) and Lady Bears (28-4) will play a high-stakes, top-10 rubber game for the league tournament championship. Tip-off is 9 p.m. on FoxSports1.

Baylor won 78-62 in Morgantown on Jan. 8 behind Odyssey Sims’ 48-point outburst. The Big 12 player of the year scored 39 in the rematch on March 2, but was undone by her 10 turnovers—one that led to WVU’s go-ahead basket in a 71-69 upset that spoiled Baylor’s senior night.

“It’s going to be a dog fight,” said No. 7-ranked West Virginia’s senior guard Christal Caldwell. “Everyone wants it bad. This could be our first chance to win a conference tournament championship, and Baylor, they want us again.

“Odyssey is going to come out strong. She let one go with her team on senior night, so I’m sure that’s still on her mind.”

Sims scored only 17 points—13 below her nation-leading average—in No. 9 Baylor’s 65-61 semifinal victory over Oklahoma State. A 6-of-22 shooting performance fueled questions of whether defenses have completely re-engineered themselves to stop her.

“I think it has to do with her being guarded by everybody on the other team,” said Baylor coach Kim Mulkey. “She sees it all. I think she’ll lose her composure some, but she doesn’t lose it near as much as I probably would as a player.

“You think of the players that are up for Player of the Year, the positions that they play—they don’t see that kind of defense. They don’t see three and four players, fresh players, come at her and then a double-team here and a triangle-and-two and a box-and-one.”

West Virginia coach Mike Carey, after his team eliminated Texas 67-60, said he hadn’t decided on what defenses to throw at Sims. “Well, we haven’t covered her yet, so I guess I don’t have a plan,” he said.

After Stanford was upset in the Pac-12 tournament, there’s a chance Monday’s Big 12 winner might be elevated to an NCAA No. 1 seed. Mulkey hopes the Big 12 teams are seeded well because of the grind associated with playing a round-robin leauge schedule.

“We know everything about each other—you don’t even have to do a scouting report,” she said. “So when the NCAA sits down to do their selection, they need to keep that in mind. What you hope happens is the selection committee understands, ‘Wow, let’s look at this league they’re in and how tough it is’ and give us a lot of good seeds.”

CAREY INCENTIVES
Under a contract extension Carey received in January, the coach has netted a $10,000 bonus for reaching the tournament final tonight and the figure grows to $15,000 if WVU wins.

Carey’s new deal—which pays him a $420,000 salary this season and escalates to $670,000 by 2020—already landed him a $15,000 bonus for WVU’s first-place finish in the Big 12 regular season and another $15,000 for earning Big 12 coach of the year.

There’s more bonuses ahead: He’ll earn $10,000 for the Mountaineers appearing in the NCAA women’s tournament, $15,000 if they advance to the second round and a ladder of incentives up to $50,000 for winning the national title.

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Comments

  • Billy

    Tough loss. Now it is time to focus on starting another win streak.

  • Aaron

    Great game ladies, just a little bit short. Shake it off and on to the Final Four and an NCAA Championship.

  • pghmountaineer

    Tough loss. I think the ref made a bad call on the inbound with 5 seconds left. Both players were pushing and shoving and we had the ball. Welcome to the Big 12.
    At any rate, these ladies played a very good game. They can hold their heads high and go into the Tournament with a chip on their shoulders.
    I for one am very proud of these Ladies.
    Well done.

  • 4WVUinKY

    I repeat...do we not understand that Sims goes to her left 99% of the time? Push her to the right?

  • 4WVUinKY

    Do we not understand that Sims goes to her left! Push the girl right!

  • Billy

    I have been waiting all day for this game. I am proud of this team. If you like basketball, you have to be impressed by the work ethic of these ladies.
    T minus 1 hour and 23 minutes and counting.

    • Dave

      I'm wth you Billy. They are fun to watch. They are all scrappers. They just hang around and when there's about four minutes to go in the game, they buckle down on defense. I would love to see them win the Trophy tonight. Very proud of the five Seniors on the team. They have represented the University and the State of West Virginia with dignity.

      LET'S GOOOOOOOOO MOUNTAINEERS !!!!!!

  • cutty77

    Mike Carey is and has been The Best Coach at WVU for a long time in any sport.

    • jwg66

      Cutty-I think Carey has done fantastic but have you followed women's soccer? Nikki Izzo-Brown has a pretty fair track record too. And she showed Mountaineer loyalty by telling Michigan no. Both are super representatives of our school/state!

  • Mountain Navy

    They better give Carey a better contract because if they do not someone will come knocking with one million or 1.5 million a year.

  • Mountain Navy

    They better give Carry a better contract because if they do not someone will come knocking with one million or 1.5 million a year.

  • Shawn

    Hey Allan, you couldnt resist throwing that pic of Baylors coach on the slide show huh? haha

    • Dave

      Although I like the eye candy, I don't think it is practical for a coach to flaunt it on TV.

      • Beaver Sniffer

        So a guy walks into a bar and sees a certain coach from a certain university from a certain town in Texas. He walks up to her and politely says, "I'll give you $50 to suck on those." Kim, I mean the aforementioned coach, slaps him in the face and the gentleman takes a seat down at the other end of the bar.

        Now Kim is pulling down some serious coin but as the night worn on and after what appeared to be six shots of Ouzo, she figured "what the hell?" so she went down and said to the gentleman, "Meet me out back in five minutes" where upon she walked away and the man promptly nailed his fifth shot of Old Granddad.

        As the man swung open the back door, he saw the woman in question standing there with her blouse wide open and she said, "Feast upon these". The man began gently licking and nudging them and continued this approach for approximately 10 minutes where upon the coach said, "Start licking them now!" to which the old gentleman replied, "I can't, I ain't got the $50".

      • leroy j gibbs

        is she from Hooterville?

        • Pat

          No, she's from Twin Peaks.

  • Pghmountaineer

    It's a lot to ask to beat Baylor twice in one year, but if any team can do it, it's these Ladies.
    Go EERS!
    Win or lose tonight they have made WVU very proud. What a great bunch of student athletes

  • Mountaineer Fanatic

    That was a great game last night. Very, very proud of all of you. Looking forward to tonight's game and a great victory. LETS GOOOOOO MOUNTAINEERS!!!!!!!

  • Robin

    I have really enjoyed watching the Lady Mountaineers this season. I am equally impressed with Coach Carey and we should all thank him for staying a Mountaineer.

    Good job and good luck tonight!!

  • Pat

    Also, wow, picture #3 in the slideshow!

  • Ike

    This is how contracts should be written. I don't mind if a coach gets paid for accomplishments. I hope Mike breaks the bank. He earns his money, unlike some other coaches with huge contracts. I wish the girls the very best. We are proud of you. Good Luck tonight and Lets Go Mountaineers