Lady Bears get revenge in Ames with tough victory over Iowa State

Baylor forward NaLyssa Smith (1) fights for a rebound with Iowa State guard Ashley Joens during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer

No. 9 women’s basketball broke its two-game losing streak against Iowa State, taking an 85-77 win Sunday in Ames, Iowa in a physical match-up against the Cyclones.

Junior forward NaLyssa Smith led the statistical charge for the Lady Bears, scoring 20 points and snagging 10 rebounds, six of which were offensive. Another great rebounding performance came by way of senior guard Moon Ursin. Ursin led the team with 15 rebounds, a career high, and her third double-double of the season.

Graduate guard DiJonai Carrington had a big night in her return to action as well, scoring 17 points and handing out four assists. Head coach Kim Mulkey noted that Carrington’s re-addition to the team was a big one.

“Shooters matter,” Mulkey said. “When you play a team that plays you sagging man-to-man…it matters, they make some of those shots and it’s not as congested in there.”

The Lady Bears had a rough opening quarter. Junior center Queen Egbo led the way for Baylor, putting up six points and pulling in four rebounds and was also the only player to have a positive plus/minus score after the first quarter.

Baylor trailed throughout the first 15, a problem not helped by their poor shooting performance. The Lady Bears shot 30% from the field, and 33% from beyond the arc. Despite their struggles, Baylor didn’t let Iowa State run away from them, only trailing 25-22 after one.

The Lady Bears looked more like themselves in the second quarter, shooting almost 60% from the field and over 75% from behind the arc. Baylor got a huge contribution from their reserve unit in the second quarter, as the bench scored 18 of the team’s 25 points. The Lady Bears used their hot shooting and scoring punch off the bench to surge back, heading to halftime with a 47-41 lead over ISU.

The third quarter was another strong one for Baylor, this time led by Smith. A strong quarter at the line helped Baylor hold its lead, and the game went to the fourth 66-65.

Two 6-0 runs in the final period helped Baylor open up a lead on the Cyclones, as did Baylor’s ability to force Iowa State into turnovers. Baylor got eight of its 19 fourth quarter points by turning defense into offense, something the Lady Bears have been good at all season. Smith, who was dominant in the second half, said she was determined on bringing a win back to Texas.

“From the start I told everybody we’re not leaving here without a win,” Smith said. “We went into this game, we all had our minds right, you can’t let two fouls determine the whole game, so when I did get in I did what I was supposed to do.”

The Lady Bears will be back on the floor at 7 p.m. Thursday as they welcome Kansas to the Ferrell Center for their first look at the Jayhawks this season. The game will air on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.