Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State women's basketball stays with No. 9 Baylor, but comes up short

Bears win at Hilton, 85-77

Baylor guard Moon Ursin, left, tries to the ball from Iowa State guard Rae Johnson during the first half of an NCAA coll
Baylor guard Moon Ursin, left, tries to the ball from Iowa State guard Rae Johnson during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

AMES — Iowa State and Baylor put together another women’s basketball game to remember.

The Cyclones were on a two-game winning streak against the Bears and on Sunday in Hilton Coliseum, Iowa State tried to make it three in a row.

The game was tight the whole way with both teams trading blows and leads — there were eight lead changes and seven times the game was tied. No. 9 Baylor led by one entering the fourth quarter and the Bears’ defense clamped down in the final quarter. Iowa State failed to make a shot in the final 4:10 of the game and lost, 85-77.

“We got stagnant, our spacing got bad, our shot selection wasn’t what it needed to be at times,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “Defensively, they ratcheted it up really high. They were ultra, ultra physical on the ball and we just couldn’t get people in the right spots. You have to give Baylor credit, Kim (Mulkey’s) teams are always ultra good defensively.”

Ashley Joens led the way for Iowa State, scoring 25 points and grabbing seven rebounds. But Baylor made it difficult for the Iowa State star, who shot just 6 of 22 from the field and 3 for 9 from 3-point range. Joens was 10-for-10 from the free-throw line.

As a team, Iowa State shot well from the line, making 23 of 24. The Cyclones were also able to make the most of their 3-point attempts, hitting 12 of 24.

“Our offense was not the problem,” Fennelly said. “When you score 77 on Baylor, you’re doing something right. We made our free throws, we made our 3-pointers, we only had 14 turnovers. If you were to ask any team in the Big 12 what their reaction would be if they scored 77 on Baylor, I think most teams would go crazy. We got down seven early in the fourth quarter and couldn’t get it back to a workable margin.”

The difference in the game was rebounding.

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Iowa State (11-6, 7-3) couldn’t keep Baylor (12-2, 7-1) off the glass on Sunday. The Bears out-rebounded the Cyclones 51-26. Baylor shot just 43 percent from the field but had 23 offensive rebounds and 21 second-chance points.

“Twenty-three offensive rebounds is the difference in the game,” Fennelly said. “You can’t give great teams extra possessions.”

Iowa State was without starting point guard Emily Ryan for much of the game due to foul trouble. Ryan played just 15 minutes before fouling out and totaled no points, four assists and three rebounds.

Rae Johnson filled in nicely for Ryan off the bench, scoring five points and dishing out four assists in 15 minutes.

Iowa State was unable to make it three straight victories against Baylor, but Fennelly couldn’t help but feel proud of how his team competed.

“That was a great game,” Fennelly said. “Both teams played really, really hard. I was really pleased with the effort of our kids and the way they competed for 40 minutes. That’s what we asked them to do. I could not be more proud of the way we approached the game and the way we competed.

“The result is not what we wanted but it’s not because our kids didn’t give it everything they had. That’s all you can ask from any team you coach.”

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