WACO, Texas – Prairie View A&M’s postseason run came to an end on Sunday night as the No. 1 seeded Baylor Lady Bears handed them a 66-30 loss in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship at the Ferrell Center.
Faced with the task of taking on top-seeded Baylor on its home court, the Lady Panthers struggled out of the gate as they began the contest 0-for-12 from the field along with committing five turnovers. Baylor took advantage of PV’s early-game jitters and stormed out to a 16-0 lead at the 11:28 mark.
“Baylor came out aggressive. We could not hit,” said head coach Toyelle Wilson. “We had a few open shots, just did not hit. I know I said from the beginning that we were going to have to score. We screened, we just did not hit shots.”
Waco native and senior Robin Jones ended the scoring drought with a basket in the paint as BU led 20-2 with 10:25 remaining. Baylor continued its run on the offensive end and scored nine straight before PV hit its second basket of the game following a jumper from Latia Williams at the 6:45 mark. The Lady Panthers began to settle down offensively as they scored on two occasions over the next minute but the scoring would cease as they went scoreless over the final 5:07 en route to a 36-8 halftime deficit.
With several players who’ve experienced NCAA postseason play on the roster, Wilson said she was surprised with the way her team came out during the opening 20 minutes of the contest.
“You might say that the girls were a little jittery,” she said. “It is only Siarra’s (Soliz) first post season NCAA tournament. I did not expect that from the seniors. I thought they would come with a little more fire knowing this may be their last guaranteed game and their last go-around.
“I really loved the environment,” Wilson added. “It was loud. It was electric. The girls were excited and I thought they were going to come out with a little fire. They just were not hitting.”
After an uncharacteristic first half, the Lady Panthers played better on both ends of the court in the second half as they shot better from the field in addition to holding Baylor to a 32.1 shooting percentage. However, the Lady Panthers could never overcome their first half performance as Baylor led by no less than 27 points over the remainder of the second stanza.
Soliz led the Lady Panthers with 12 points and two steals while sophomore Sharde’ Henry pulled down a team-high five rebounds off the bench. Playing in their final game as Lady Panthers, Dominique Smith scored six points while Robin Jones grabbed four rebounds.
The Lady Panthers finished with a 21-12 overall mark in Wilson’s inaugural season as the team’s head coach. With aspirations of making consistent NCAA Tournament appearances which will feature matchups against some of the top teams in the nation, Wilson said the offseason will be vital if they plan on reaching her goal.
“I have been here before. I think the girls are going to understand that this is how they went out,” she said. “They have to understand that you do not win championships or get to the championship game by just the season. It is what you do in the offseason. I think they are going to have to come a little bit stronger with their offseason workouts. We have got to get their timing back a little bit quicker.”