By Jeffrey Swindoll
The No. 3 Baylor Lady Bears stayed hot with a forceful 79-47 victory over the Iowa State Cyclones Tuesday night at the Ferrell Center. Baylor remains undefeated (4-0), atop the Big 12 Conference standings.
It was a bit of a slow start for the Lady Bears’ star sophomore Nina Davis totaling just six points in the first half. Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey showed her discontent with Davis between timeouts, urging her to be more involved in rebounding and finding ways to the basket. Davis heard Mulkey loud and clear and broke loose in the second half.
“We held [Iowa State’s] leading scorers to zero and four points,” Mulkey said. “That just doesn’t happen. It’s a pride thing, really. I just looked at that [the statistics sheet] and thought, ‘Wow.’”
Even with Davis’ misfortune in the first half, her teammates put the game away early anyway. Baylor’s defense was exceptional. In addition, sophomores Imani Wright and Khadijiah Cave came off the bench to take the game into their own hands.
Mulkey gave the nod to Wright after Prince had a few miscues in the first half and did not disappoint. Wright notched a total of three timely 3-pointers in the first half that gave the Lady Bears the lift they needed to put the game out of ISU’s reach. All 11 of Wright’s points were in the first half.
Cave finished the night with 10 points and 7 rebounds, coming in as relief for senior post Sune Agbuke whom Mulkey is using conservatively in regards to her nagging knee issue.
The Lady Bears established a seemingly insurmountable lead at halftime but Mulkey reminded her team that Iowa State pulled off an 18-point comeback on to win against Texas on Saturday.
Baylor led by 19 at the half, 37-18. Davis was yet to made an impact on the game. She saved her best for the second half, shooting a perfect 6-6 from the field, ending the game with a game-leading 18 points.
“Last game, against West Virginia, I didn’t know what to expect and I was forcing shots that I shouldn’t have been taking, but this game I was more relaxed and I knew how to attack it better,” Davis said.
Freshman guard Kristy Wallace, who is the two-week reigning Big 12 Freshman of the Week, had the usual flare to her game that makes the fans at the Ferrell Center go wild. Wallace played the more minutes than anyone and tied Imani Wright with three 3-point field goals.
Junior guard Niya Johnson was at her best Tuesday night, doing what she has made herself known for – assists. Johnson dished out 12 assists and did not commit a single turnover.
“We communicated very well. We paid close attention to our scouting report and we stepped it up tonight,” Johnson said.
Iowa State struggled all night with defending Baylor’s quick, versatile offense and had a terrible night of shooting. The Cyclones shot just 12-of-60 from the field, good enough for only 20 percent. For an offense that is heavily predicated on shooting well from three-point range, the Cyclones’ performance was nowhere near the standard they needed to beat a top five team.
“It’s pretty simple. We just got our butt kicked — royally,” Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said. “When your starters besides [Nicole Blaskowsky] go 5-for-37, an 1-of-18 from the three, 1-for-11 from the bench, [it’s hard because] we’re a team that’s got to make baskets and we certainly didn’t do that [Tuesday].”
The Lady Bears travel to Lawrence, Kan., to face the University of Kansas at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Last time the Lady Bears travelled to Lawrence, Baylor picked up its first Big 12 loss of the season.