By Nathan Keil | Sports Editor
As the calendar flipped to 2018, the Lady Bears didn’t lose a step. No. 6 Baylor scored the first 10 points of the game and cruised to 89-49 win over conference foe Iowa State Tuesday night.
Baylor placed six in double figures, led by sophomore guard Natalie Chou’s 17 points, highlighted by her five three-pointers. Chou did more than just score to frustrate the Cyclones, displaying her versatility by dishing out five assists and grabbing five rebounds as Baylor won the rebound battle 42-33.
Chou said she knew she needed to be ready to shoot due to Iowa State’s style of defense in the post.
“We knew the scouting report and that they would try to double team the posts and the shot would be open,” Chou said. “My teammates found me and knew where I was.”
Baylor opened the game fast as senior guard Kristy Wallace knocked down the opening basket of the game on the Lady Bears’ first possession sparking the 10-0 run to begin the first quarter.
After Iowa State got on the board, a 14-2 run to close the quarter put the Lady Bears up 24-6 after 10 minutes.
The second quarter didn’t get much better for Iowa State as Baylor scored the first 17 points of the quarter in building a 36 point lead at halftime, its largest halftime lead over a Big 12 opponent in program history.
Baylor continued its dominance over the Cyclones in the second half, stretching the lead to 44 points after three quarters and getting it as large as 47 points at 82-35 midway through the fourth quarter after a basket from Cox.
The Baylor backcourt took center stage in the offensive scheme for the Lady Bears. Baylor connected on 12 of its 23 three-point attempts and dishing out 24 assists on 35 field goals. Cohen, Wallace and Chou all had at least five assists in the effort.
Defensively, Baylor was able to pressure Iowa State into 20 turnovers, converting them in to 26 points and limit the Cyclones to just 29 percent from the floor and just three of 20 beyond the arc. Junior guard Bridget Carleton led the way for Iowa State with 15 points but was just five of 17 from the floor. Senior guard Emily Durr also hit double figures, scoring 10 points for the Cyclones.
Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said that it was this defensive pressure that allowed Baylor to have success.
“We didn’t allow them to penetrate, reverse dribble, set flare screens, we communicated, we talked, we didn’t help ball side but we knew to help with the post players,” Mulkey said. “I just thought our defense was very good in the first half. I have to give Dekeiya [Cohen] credit, she just looked challenged and enjoyed guarding [Bridget] Carleton.”
Baylor (13-1, 3-0) will now hit the road for three straight conference games beginning with a trip to Lawrence, Kan. to face the Jayhawks beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday.