OKLAHOMA CITY — No. 19 Iowa State built a big lead and held on to top No. 22 Texas 75-69 on Sunday in the semifinal round of the Big 12 Tournament at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Cyclones (25-7) play No. 1 Baylor (30-1) in the championship game at 8 p.m. Monday (FS1).
“We’re so excited to be in this position,” Iowa State’s Bridget Carleton said. “I couldn’t ask for a better position to be in with this group of girls.”
Alexa Middleton had 24 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead Iowa State. Big 12 Player of the Year Carleton added 17 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Ashley Joens added 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Iowa State jumped out to a 12-4 lead on 3-pointers from Carleton and Middleton. The lead was later pushed to 16 points, and ISU led 43-32 at halftime.
Texas (23-9) tied the game at 64-64 on a Destiny Littleton 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter.
Joens had a layup to start a 7-0 run, and the Cyclones put the game away from there, going 7 of 7 at the foul line in the final quarter.
“We talked about staying poised and continuing to be who we were that whole game,” Middleton said. “I think we did a great job of finding that extra push when we needed it.”
Iowa State lost to Baylor 84-69 on Jan. 23 in Waco, Texas, and then fell 73-60 on Feb. 23 in Ames.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
“They’re the No. 1 team in the country for a reason,” Carleton said. “They’re a tough matchup, but we’re excited.”
The Bears haven’t lost since a 68-63 setback at Stanford on Dec. 15. They hammered Texas Tech 100-61 in the quarterfinals and beat Kansas State 88-60 on Sunday.
“No. 1, you’ve got to believe that you can play them,” ISU Coach Bill Fennelly said. “No. 2, we don’t have to beat the (Oklahoma City) Thunder four out of seven. We gotta beat them one time, 40 minutes. That’s what postseason basketball is all about.”