AMES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa State tried to stifle the much bigger and much more talented Lady Bears by loading up in the paint.
But No. 2 Baylor has much more than just its frontcourt — and that’s what makes the nation’s second-ranked team so tough to defend.
Alexis Prince scored 22 points and No. 2 Baylor beat Iowa State 83-52 Wednesday night for its 20th straight win.
It was the second time in three games that Prince topped 20 points for the Lady Bears (22-1, 11-0 Big 12), who overcame a shaky start with a 13-0 run that put the game out of reach.
“Just trusting my shot,” Prince said of her recent strong play. “They’re leaving the perimeter open, so we’re just trying to hit the open shots.”
Iowa State’s strategy worked initially, as it was within 34-31 late in the first half. But Baylor opened the second half with nine straight points and pushed its lead to 57-36 midway through the third quarter.
The Lady Bears outscored Iowa State 45-21 in the second half, hitting 16 of 31 shots. Nina Davis scored 13 points and Alexis Jones had 12 for Baylor.
“Just making shots. Just making shots,” Mulkey said about Baylor’s second-half adjustments. “They were concerned about our post play. They packed it in there and let all our perimeter players have open looks, and we can shoot it.”
Jadda Buckley scored all 13 of her points in the first half for the Cyclones (12-10, 3-8), who had won two of their previous three games following a terrible start to Big 12 play.
But Iowa State scored just six points in the third quarter on 2- of-14 shooting.
“They came up with a lot more pressure. A lot more aggressiveness,” Buckley said.
THE BIG PICTURE
Baylor: The Lady Bears’ defense was very leaky with its switching in the first half, allowing the much smaller Cyclones to score 18 points in the paint. But Baylor got it turned around and continued its march toward an unbeaten Big 12 record. A trip to No. 12 Texas on Feb. 20 remains the toughest contest left in the regular season.
Iowa State: The Cyclones beat third-ranked Baylor at home two years ago — which helped propel them to the NCAA Tournament. Iowa State is almost certain to miss out on a bid for the second year in a row after making nine straight trips from 2007-15.
Baylor will likely remain ranked second with a win Saturday at Texas Tech. Top-ranked UConn is unbeaten and is also the only team to beat Baylor.
Iowa State’s post-centric success began to waver late in the first half. But Baylor didn’t really seize the opportunity until Jones dribbled the length of the court for a buzzer-beating layup that put the Lady Bears up 38-31 at the break and killed Iowa State’s momentum.
Baylor outrebounded Iowa State 46-29 and committed just six turnovers. Iowa State was just 3 of 18 on 3s and got assists on just seven of 21 baskets. Seanna Johnson scored just seven points. But she’s now ninth in career points at Iowa State and is one shy of 1,500. Prince also had seven rebounds, three blocks and no turnovers.
HE SAID IT
“We went absolutely brain dead on some inbounds plays,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “Everything that went good in the first half went bad in the second half.”
The Lady Bears visit the Red Raiders on Saturday.
Iowa State plays at West Virginia on Saturday.
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