By Ben Everett | Sports Writer
The No. 2-ranked Baylor women’s basketball team faces a tough road test against Iowa State at 7 p.m. today in Ames, Iowa.
The Lady Bears (21-1, 10-0) defeated the Cyclones (12-9, 3-7) on Jan. 18 in Waco by a score of 68-42.
In spite of the loss, Iowa State became just the second team to hold Baylor to under 70 points. Additionally, the Lady Bears held the Cyclones to their first sub-50 point game on the season.
Despite the Cyclones’ poor conference record, they have only lost two of those games at home. Baylor junior guard Kristy Wallace says that it’s never an easy task playing in Hilton Coliseum.
“We know how tough these road games are going to be,” Wallace said. “Especially Iowa State. Those girls can shoot. So we’re really going to have to switch on and stay focused.”
The Lady Bears, however, are undefeated on the road in Big 12 play, including wins over ranked West Virginia and Kansas State teams.
Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said her team’s experience is the main factor in road success.
“This team doesn’t seem to get bothered by the fact that you’re in a hostile environment,” Mulkey said. “They’re mature enough to block it out, and they’re focused on the job at hand.”
The Cyclones are led on offense by the guard trio of sophomore Bridget Carleton, junior Jadda Buckley and senior Seanna Johnson.
Johnson leads Iowa State in scoring at 16 points per game but was held scoreless for the first time in her career in the previous meeting this season against the Lady Bears.
Buckley holds an average of 14.5 points per game and leads the team in assists with a 5.1 assist-per-game average.
Carleton lands just behind Johnson in scoring at 15.8 points per game and is the best three-point shooter on the team, making 47 so far on the year.
The Cyclones have four players with at least 20 made threes on the season, a statistic that doesn’t bode well for opponents, Mulkey said.
“They shoot the ball well, especially at home,” Mulkey said. “There’s not a player on their team with the exception of maybe two posts that don’t shoot the three. That’s difficult to guard. The lead is never safe against those guys.”
The Lady Bears are led by senior guard and reigning Big 12 Player of the Week Alexis Jones, who recorded the first points-rebounds-assists triple-double in Baylor women’s basketball history against Oklahoma on Sunday.
Also contributing to Baylor’s success is senior forward Nina Davis, who is averaging 11.7 points per game and pulling down 4.9 rebounds a game. Davis led the Lady Bears in scoring in the previous meeting with Iowa State, scoring 17 points while shooting 7-for-8 from the field.
Following the game against Iowa State, Baylor plays Texas Tech at 2 p.m. Saturday in Lubbock to finish a stretch of three games in six days.