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Big 12 crown a big-time first for Baylor

MVP Young helps Bears knock off Kansas State

Sophia Young scored 18 points, earning Big 12 tournament MVP honors, and No. 6 Baylor won its first conference championship with a 68-55 victory over No. 17 Kansas State last night in Kansas City, Mo.

Steffanie Blackmon had a season-high 14 rebounds for the Bears (27-3), who won their 14th straight. Chameka Scott added 12 points for the former Southwest Conference members, who added their first automatic NCAA Tournament bid in school history to the Big 12 regular-season title. The Wildcats (23-7) started slowly in each half last night, but kept mounting comebacks that fell just short. Kansas State, which trailed, 47-30, with just over 14 minutes remaining, got within 57-53 on Kendra Wecker's free throws with 3:53 to go, before the Bears pulled away.

Colonial -- Shareese Grant's steal and layup with 4.6 seconds left in overtime helped Old Dominion beat Delaware, 78-74, in Fairfax, Va., for its 14th straight conference title. Grant scored 29 of her career-high 35 points in the second half and overtime, none more important than the final 2 after her swipe of Alena Koshansky under the basket.

The win gives the Monarchs (22-8) yet another automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament and improves them to 41-0 in the CAA tournament since joining the league in 1991-92.

Delaware (25-5) was led by Tiffany Young, who had 23 points.

Mid-American -- Kate Achter scored 21 points and Liz Honegger added 20 to help Bowling Green beat Kent State, 81-75, in Cleveland for its first conference tournament championship since 1994. Lindsay Shearer scored a tournament-record 44 points in the losing effort, but couldn't prevent Bowling Green (23-7) from claiming the NCAA Tournament berth.

WAC -- Lauren Neaves led six Rice players in double figures with 22 points, helping the Owls win the conference tournament over Louisiana Tech, 86-66, in Reno. Michelle Woods had 14 points, Maudess Fulton and Eshombi Singleton 12 apiece, and Krystal Frazier and Amber Cunningham 11 each for Rice (24-8).

Mid-Eastern -- LaKesha Wills scored 20 points and Coppin State gained its first NCAA Tournament bid since moving to Division 1 20 years ago, beating Norfolk State, 67-43, in Richmond. The top-seeded Lady Eagles (23-7), playing in the championship for the first time since 1993, wore down the smaller and weary Spartans (12-18).

Big South -- Katie Feenstra scored 19 points and Daina Staugaitiene added 16 to lead Liberty (24-6) over North Carolina-Asheville, 88-41, in Lynchburg, Va., for the Lady Flames' record ninth consecutive conference title and an automatic NCAA bid. Liberty coach Carey Green is 18-0 in the league tournament, and the Lady Flames are 27-5 all time.

Northeast -- Christin Black had 17 points and eight rebounds and St. Francis, Pa., (21-9) won its fourth straight conference tournament title, 65-50, over Robert Morris in Loretto, Pa.

Missouri Valley -- Senior Jaci McCormack nailed a turnaround jumper with 0.8 seconds left to give Illinois State (13-17) a 72-70 win over Indiana State in Normal, Ill., and its first MVC tournament championship. The Redbirds are the first team to win the conference tournament with an under-.500 record.

Big West -- Kristen Mann scored 33 points and UC Santa Barbara (21-8) rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to beat Idaho, 74-66, in Anaheim, Calif., for its ninth straight conference title and 25th straight victory in conference tournament games.

Mountain West -- Dionne Marsh scored 14 of her 22 points in the first half and New Mexico (26-4) overcame poor shooting with a smothering defense to beat Utah, 47-37, in Denver for its third straight conference tournament title.

Big Sky -- Hollie Tyler scored a career-high 29 points to lead Montana (22-7) to an 80-64 victory over Weber State and a second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.

SWAC -- Rasaan Powell scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lift Alcorn State (21-8) to the conference championship with a 56-47 victory over Southern University in Birmingham, Ala.

Southland -- Rola Ogunoye had 22 points to lead Texas-Arlington (21-9) past Louisiana-Monroe, 60-54, to win the conference title and its first trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Atlantic Sun -- Kristy Brown scored a game-high 28 points to lead Stetson (17-13) to an 88-62 victory over Georgia State in Dothan, Ala., and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

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