No. 19 Iowa State stayed with No. 1 Baylor for over three quarters Monday night, but ultimately lost 67-49 in the championship game of the 2019 Big 12 women's basketball tournament at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla.
The Bears improved to 31-1, beating the Cyclones (25-8) for the third time this year and wrapping up the tournament title to go with their regular-season Big 12 championship.
Turning point: Iowa State matched Baylor shot-for-shot in the third quarter after trailing 30-25 at halftime. But Kalani Brown hit a jumper in the final seconds of the third to go up 48-44, and the Bears started the fourth quarter on a 15-2 run to create a 17-point deficit too big for ISU to overcome. Brown and Lauren Cox had eight of those points inside. Plus, Baylor's lengthy defense caused the Cyclones problems, with a DiDi Jackson steal leading to a breakway Chloe Jackson layup.
MVP: Brown didn't have her most efficient night on offense, but Baylor's 6-foot-7 All-American center still made a major impact on this game. She finished with 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting and made 5 of 6 free throws. Eleven of her points came in the second half. Brown also grabbed seven rebounds.
Key stat: 3-15. Against a Baylor team that pounds the ball inside effectively (it was 0 of 3 from deep), Iowa State probably needed more long-distance shots to fall to pull off the upset. The Cyclones finished 3 of 15 from 3-point range. Baylor's size advantage clearly had an effect on the perimeter as well.
Points: Alexa Middleton, Iowa State (18); Kalani Brown, Baylor (17)
Rebounds: Bridget Carleton, Iowa State (6); Lauren Cox, Baylor (8)
Assists: Alexa Middleton, Iowa State (3); Juicy Landrum, Baylor (6)
Steals: Madison Wise, Bridget Carleton, Meredith Burkhall, Iowa State (1); DiDi Richards, Baylor (4)
Blocks: Madison Wise, Iowa State (1); Lauren Cox, Baylor (3)
3-Pointers: Kristin Scott, Alexa Middleton, Iowa State (1-2)
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Up next: Selection Monday is next Monday for the NCAA Tournament. Iowa State will receive an at-large bid and could get a top-four seed, which comes with home-court advantage in the first two rounds.