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Baylor continues to have Iowa State’s number
Unranked Bears top No. 12 Cyclones in Hilton, 76-70
AMES — Ashley Joens kept Iowa State going early. Her Cyclone teammate, Nyamer Diew, did the same late.
But ultimately, No. 12 ISU couldn’t overcome frigid 3-point shooting Saturday against Baylor, falling 76-70 before a crowd of 11,788 at Hilton Coliseum.
“Disappointed in the outcome,” Cyclones head coach Bill Fennelly said. “We got beat by a better team.”
Joens scored 15 of her 23 points in the first half. Diew scored 17 of her career-high 25 points in the second half. The Cyclones (15-6, 7-4 Big 12) suffered back-to-back losses for the first time this season and shot just 5-of-24 from 3-point range.
“Everyone can critique whatever and I get it, but we went 5-for-24 and I’ll bet 22 of them were wide open,” said Fennelly, whose team fell two games behind first-place Texas in the conference standings. “I mean, Ashley Joens went 1-for-9 — so are you gonna tell her not to shoot a 3? That’s the game. Like I said, you take (Diew) out of there and we couldn’t make a 3 and I thought we had some good looks at it.”
Sarah Andrews scored 21 points to lead the Bears (16-6, 7-3), who have won 13 of the past 15 meetings with the Cyclones.
ISU led by as many as five points, but couldn’t string together enough stops to offset its erratic 3-point shooting, nor get to the free-throw line with regularity. Diew, however, was terrific. She drained 10 of 13 shots overall and went 3-of-4 from beyond the arc to score 20-plus points for the first time in her career.
“I was getting the ball where I wanted it,” Diew said.
So was Joens early in the game. She scored all 15 of her first-half points in the opening 11 1/2 minutes, but Baylor adjusted and began sending physical double- and triple-teams to curtail her production — and it worked. But the Bears also outmuscled the Cyclones on the boards, grabbing nine offensive rebounds to ISU’s season-low two.
“Ashley Joens gets three more offensive rebounds in their wins than their losses,” Baylor Coach Nicki Collen said. “We needed to keep her off the boards and we ultimately did.”
The Bears nudged the Cyclones off-balance early, bolting to a 17-9 lead before Emily Ryan’s hustle play turned into Joens’ lone 3-pointer. That play was part of a 10-3 Cyclones run that gave them their biggest lead of the game, at 27-22, in the second quarter.
Darianna Littlepage-Buggs scored seven points in the first half to lead Baylor, which held ISU without a field goal for the final 4:14. The Bears led, 33-31, at halftime and limited the Cyclones to 2-of-13 shooting from beyond the arc.
Both ISU and Baylor turned the ball over seven times in the first half, but the Bears scored 12 points off those miscues while the Cyclones scored just six.
Baylor built a 48-41 lead midway through the third quarter as ISU struggled to take care of the ball and make shots. That’s when Diew took over, scoring five of her 13 third-quarter points on a 3-pointer and driving layup. Morgan Kane tied the game at 48-48 moments later and Joens hit a free throw to give the Cyclones a 49-48 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The Bears sealed the win by shooting 56.3 percent from the field and 81.8 percent from the line in the fourth quarter and maintained the lead for the final 6:34.
ISU will have a week to regroup before traveling to West Virginia next Saturday.
“No one’s going to feel sorry for us,” Fennelly said. “So you can’t feel sorry for yourself. You’ve gotta go play. You still get to play the game and we’ll see. We have really, really good kids. Love them to death. They show up and do everything we ask them to do. And you hate to see the losses and they’ve been through a lot in the last month. Hopefully (with) the next couple of days off we’ll get some juice back.”