AMES — The Baylor women’s basketball team is a throwback.
The Bears don’t care about spacing and they don’t shoot 3-pointers, only making three per game. They relentlessly pound the ball inside to star post players Kalani Brown and Lauren Cox.
Brown is 6-foot-7 and the daughter of 15-year NBA big man P.J. Brown. Kalani averages a team-high 15.7 points while shooting 64 percent from the field. Cox is 6-foot-5 and is the Bears’ leading rebounder and shot blocker. Cox also averages 12.4 points, second on the team.
Saturday at 3 p.m. at Hilton Coliseum, No. 21 Iowa State will try to contain No. 1 Baylor’s potent offensive attack.
“You know what you’re going to get,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “They are probably one of the most unique — men’s or women’s — teams in the country. They play the game the complete opposite of the way everyone else plays it. Everybody talks about spacing and spreading the court and they have no such thing as spacing.
“They’re going to pound it inside. It’s like wishbone football. They’re going to run it down your throat. They’re going to throw it inside and throw it inside and throw it inside. They had a game where they scored 97 points and made just two 3-point shots. That’s just not possible. In our game, that size is so hard to overcome. They do a great job of exploiting that advantage.”
Iowa State can’t match up with Baylor’s size. Kristin Scott, Meredith Burkhall and Ines Nezerwa are all 6-foot-3 and Fennelly only plays one post at a time.
The Cyclones have to be fundamentally sound if they have any shot at the upset.
“When you play really good teams, you have to worry about what you can control,” Fennelly said. “Their size is unique to the women’s game so you have to position yourself better, don’t give up silly offensive rebounds, don’t commit a silly foul and when you have a good look at the basket, you have to make it.
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“All those things add up. When you do that, you put yourself in a position to hang around. You have to figure out a way to prevent the 10-0 and 12-0 runs because those will kill you.”
Iowa State point guard Alexa Middleton has been telling the team that Baylor players put their shorts on the same way Iowa State players do and that they’re the same age as Iowa State players.
“A lot of people lose to Baylor before they even play them because of who (Baylor is),” Middleton said. “But they’re basketball players just like us. We work out just as much as they do. We’re good too. Let’s play a basketball game.”
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