OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma State seemed on the verge of catching Baylor for nearly the entire game on Sunday.
It never happened.
Nina Davis scored 18 points and Odyssey Sims added 17 to help No. 9 Baylor defeat the No. 18 Cowgirls 65-61 in the Big 12 women's semifinals. The Cowgirls kept it close early and trailed by just two points in the second half, but they couldn't quite break through.
"In the first half we had a lot of empty possessions where we didn't run very good offense, and those are just possessions that you can't get back," Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said. "The buildup of those come back to haunt you."
Davis made 8 of 13 shots and had 12 rebounds. Sims, the Big 12 Player of the Year, shot 6 of 22 but made a critical shot with 1:42 remaining that put the Lady Bears ahead by six. The Lady Bears (28-4) advanced to Monday's final and can win their fourth consecutive tournament title.
Brittney Martin had 11 points and 15 rebounds for Oklahoma State (23-8), but she made 4 of 16 shots. Tiffany Bias, OSU's leading scorer, finished with nine points on 3-for-11 shooting and played with foul trouble for most of the game.
"Tiff and Liz really didn't have a very good shooting night, and we needed to make some of those shots," Littell said. "But I thought we did a good job of getting good looks for them, and we didn't finish some of the shots. There's a lot of different things you can point to. I'm really disappointed. I thought we had a chance to win the ballgame."
Baylor outrebounded Oklahoma State 47-39 and held the Cowgirls to 36 percent shooting.
Baylor expected a tough matchup. The Lady Bears won both regular-season meetings, but Oklahoma State took it to overtime in Stillwater. OSU has never won a Big 12 tournament title and was trying to reach the final for just the second time.
Baylor opened the game on an 8-2 run, highlighted by a 3-pointer by Makenzie Robertson. The Lady Bears remained in control throughout the first half and led 31-22 at the break after holding Oklahoma State to 27 percent shooting. Oklahoma State made just five of its 10 free throws in the first half and committed nine turnovers.
Bias went 1-for-6 from the field in the first half and sat out the last 4:57 after she committed her second foul. She picked up her third foul just 65 seconds into the second half.
After Sims made a jumper, OSU's Liz Donohoe scored her first points of the game on a 3-pointer, and Bias made a baseline jumper to cut Baylor's lead to 35-31.
Baylor withstood the charge, and Davis' 3-point play pushed the Lady Bears' lead back out to eight.
Bias committed her fourth foul with 8:36 to play, but she stayed in the game. The Cowgirls cut Baylor's lead to 52-50 at one point, but got no closer. Perhaps the most disappointing thing for Littell was the fact that the Cowgirls kept Sims under control and still lost.
"I thought we did a nice job on Odyssey," Littell said. "If somebody would have told me we held her to 17 going in, I would have taken that."
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP