Iowa State has had their way with the Big 12 with the exception being Texas, but to continue that, they’d have to secure the regular-season sweep of the 9th ranked Baylor Bears. Iowa State started hot, hitting 3 of their first 5 triples, and it looked like another hot shooting night would have to lead the way, as the Cyclones got nothing down low, including being thoroughly outrebounded the entire game.
It didn’t start great for the home team, as Baylor jumped out early, taking an 8-2 lead, but, as mentioned, the hot shooting for the Cyclones prevailed early as they capped off a 12-1 scoring run to take a 14-9 lead off a pair of Ashley Joens free throws just under the 5:00 mark in the first quarter. The Cyclones held the lead throughout the rest of the 1st quarter, and with a Kylie Feuerbach triple in the final minute, the Cyclones wrapped up the first 10:00 with a 25-22 lead.
The second quarter was not as kind to the Cyclone women, as Baylor controlled the pace and jumped all over the Cyclones early and often with a 16-5 run over the first 4:30 of the 2nd quarter, taking a 38-30 lead. The Cyclones struggled the remainder of the half with their shooting, and even with a minute to go as Ashley Joens made a 3 to cut it to 3, Baylor immediately answered with a Sarah Andrews triple of their own and took a 47-41 lead into the half at Hilton.
A very back-and-forth 3rd quarter had the Cyclones closing in on the Baylor lead, and even sniffing the lead with a Lexi Donarski layup with 4:53 to go in the quarter, but much like the rest of the game, Baylor quickly answered with a Moon Ursin jumper. The teams traded possessions back and for the remainder of the 3rd quarter, as even to the final minute there were a pair of lead changes, that ended in Iowa State trailing 66-65 after NaLyssa Smith put the Bears up with a pair of free throws.
The 4th quarter has occasionally been a quarter to forget for Iowa State and their fans.
It reared its ugly head once again on Sunday afternoon.
Baylor locked Ashley Joens up on defense with some very physical play, and with the 3-ball not falling, Baylor looked to NaLyssa Smith to put the game away. She and Moon Ursin dominated the Cyclones down low, combining for 10 of Baylor’s 19 points in the 4th. The physical play took its toll on the Cyclones as the once spry and athletic offense looked sluggish and desperate, looking for any inch to find a shot. Baylor’s suffocating defense held the Cyclones to just 12 points in the final frame, and Iowa State came up 8 points short of a 3 game win streak over the dominant team in the conference, 85-77.
In the end, you really can’t get outrebounded 51-26 (Baylor had 23 offensive rebounds to Iowa State’s 18 defensive rebounds) and expect to win too many ball games. Ah well. It was a nice showing for the Cyclones who still find themselves in contention in the Big 12, sitting a game back of Baylor for the Conference lead (WVU, OkSt, and Texas also within a game and a half) in a hotly contested front 5.
Next up for the Cyclones, they travel to Morgantown, West Virginia for a Wednesday night date with the 24th ranked Mountaineers.