No. 15 WBB makes statement, trouncing No. 7 Iowa State 87-61

By Marquis Cooley | Sports Editor, Video by Braden Murray | Broadcast Reporter

“Hard work pays off,” senior center Queen Egbo said. “We’ve been busting our butts in practice every day, guarding them every day, listening to the coaches. I feel like we’ve all bought into coach Nicki’s system and it’s an amazing system and we’re just confident in her and her program and her staff and what we can do. I feel like when you trust your coach like you do, great things happen.”

Great things are exactly what happened for No. 15 Baylor women’s basketball Sunday afternoon in the Ferrell Center as the Bears walloped No. 7 Iowa State University 87-61 thanks in part to a barrage of three-pointers and massive third quarter run.

It was the first ranked win for head coach Nicki Collen as Baylor improved to 13-4 on the season and 3-2 in Big 12 play.

“Certainly could not be more impressed by Baylor on both ends of the floor,” ISU head coach Bill Fennelly said. “I think when they shoot it from the three like they shot today that they’re going to be, at least for us, a matchup nightmare. But certainly a talented team, well coached, experienced at every level.”

The Bears shot 12-21 from beyond the arc with graduate student guard Jordan Lewis knocking down 6-of-7 and sophomore guard Sarah Andrews connecting on 4-of-5 attempts. Egbo said it’s amazing having teammates that can shoot as well as they did tonight.

“On a night where I’m not so hot, where I’m struggling a little bit, I know that I have great shooters and I don’t have to force and do everything by myself,” Egbo said. “I have teammates around me who are just as good as me and can make shots at a high level like they did tonight. I mean it’s amazing seeing the ball go through the hoop like that, just waiting for my turn to get a three.”

Multiple Bears had big performances as four players scored in double figures. Lewis led all scorers with 24 points as well as dishing out six assists. Egbo had a monster double-double putting up 14 points and a game-high 21 rebounds to go along with three blocks and three steals. Andrews chipped in 18 points and five dimes while senior forward NaLyssa Smith ended with 17 points and six boards and three rejections.

“I feel like everybody contributed in a statement fashion somewhere or another throughout the game,” Egbo said. “We were able to do a lot of the things we’ve been working on all year, but now it came together as a team rather than as individuals and I really feel like that’s kind of what made the statement and that’s kind of what got us going. Just knowing that we can play together and we can all succeed at the same level.”

After a stretch of rough outings, Lewis came out firing on all cylinders tonight hiting 9-of-11 from the field and 6-of-7 from deep. Collen said she was the main difference in the outcome.

“Jordan was the difference. They were all difference makers, but when Jordan plays aggressive and when Jordan leads, when Jordan plays at all three levels and attacks, she kind of gives this team energy, she gives this team confidence because she’s so capable of making the right play,” Collen said. “It’s just good to see her get back on track.”

Both teams struggled to find the bottom of the net to open the game as both squads shot under 35% in the first quarter despite getting great looks at the rim. A 6-0 ISU run in the final 30 seconds, capped off by a three-point buzzer beater from senior guard Ashley Joens, gave the Cyclones a 13-12 advantage at the end of the period.

The second quarter was all Lewis who went a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor including three from outside the arc for 13 points to help push Baylor out to a 39-28 halftime lead and get the Ferrell Center crowd on their feet on numerous occasions.

“I actually met with coach Nicki earlier in the week and she just told me to be more confident in shooting the ball,” Lewis said. “I know for a couple of games I struggled and I wasn’t shooting the ball as well or being as confident on the floor so she asked me to kind of just lead the offense and be aggressive.”

ISU cut the deficit to eight in the second half, however the Bears responded with a massive 19-0 run to stretch the lead to 64-37. Baylor bombarded the Cyclones with a blast of triples knocking down five in the period including a string of three-straight triples which caused the Ferrell Center to erupt. Collen said the energy the crowd brought in the third helped create the run and hopes in the future even more people come out to the games.

“People are missing out if they don’t come in my opinion,” Collen said. “Certainly you can watch the game on TV, and you can enjoy it from your living room. But you have the ability to impact the game and when the crowd got involved in the third quarter, I’m telling you, it was a difference maker. That run was just so powerful and when you want to stomp on somebody, having a crowd to get behind you to get stops like … You can stay home and be a fan or you can come here and help us win a basketball game.”

Baylor outscored ISU 21-18 in the final period to secure the 87-61 victory, however junior guard Jaden Owens suffered an apparent hand injury late in the quarter requiring her to exit the game.

The Bears made life difficult for the Cyclones (16-3, 5-2 Big 12) throughout the game, holding them to just 33% from the floor (18-of-55) and 26% from the outside (7-of-27).

“I feel like our defense is kind of amazing and I feel like when we’re all locked in, it’s very different,” Egbo said. “You have people who are athletic, you have people who can guard. We might not necessarily be the biggest team but we definitely have people who want to step up and guard you and we’re not afraid to help each other out.”

Lewis said they need to use this game as an example for how they should play as a team moving forward.

“Individually, people have had amazing games all the way up to this point,” Lewis said. “I think this is the first game that we put together an offensive and defensive performance for 40 minutes. And so I think we need to use this going forward and to continue to play as a team together.”

Next up, Baylor will go back on the road to play Texas Tech University (9-9, 2-5 Big 12) at 7 p.m. CT Wednesday in Lubbock and West Virginia University (9-7, 2-4 Big 12) at 1 p.m. CT Saturday in Morgantown, W.Va.

“These next few games of course, we’re gonna have more of a target on our back, but I feel like our team is ready for this and we were born for this moment,” Egbo said.