By Michael Haag | Sports Editor
After Baylor women’s basketball knocked off the University of Kansas 77-73 this past Wednesday, junior guard Sarah Andrews said the team is at its best when it shares the sugar. Andrews had another big day Saturday evening as the Bears had four players in double figures to take down No. 12 Iowa State University 76-60 in the Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.
The Bears (15-6, 6-3 Big 12) are the first team to beat the Cyclones (15-5, 7-3 Big 12) on their home floor this season, as ISU was 10-0 in Ames entering Saturday’s contest. Baylor has won 13 of the last 15 games against Iowa State, dating back to the 2015-16 season.
Saturday also marked the Bears’ fourth win over a Top 25 team this year and makes them 4-1 in true road games, all in conference play.
“I think there’s a chippiness [about this team],” head coach Nicki Collen said. “I don’t run around lobbying for us to be in the Top 25. I want us to prove we belong. I think there’s a lot of teams outside of the Top 5 that are really good and can win on a given night. I put us in that category. I’m not afraid to play against anybody.”
Andrews continued her dominant play with a 21-point, four-assist and four-rebound outing. Graduate student guard Ja’Mee Asberry scored 10 of her 14 points in the fourth quarter and hauled in five rebounds. Fifth-year senior forward Caitlin Bickle hit six of 11 shots to score 14 points.
Freshman forward Darianna Littlepage-Buggs was the last double-digit scorer for the Bears with 13 points. Littlepage-Buggs also snagged 12 total rebounds to secure her team-leading tenth double-double of the season.
It was a back-and-forth battle for a majority of the 40-minute game, as there were 11 lead changes and nine instances where the contest was tied. But the Bears made a few more plays down the stretch and sank several free throws when they needed it.
Bickle and senior guard Jaden Owens paced the team early, as the duo combined for 14 of Baylor’s 20 points scored during the first quarter. Bickle scored eight on perfect shooting, connecting on one shot from distance in the process. The Bears held a 17-9 lead at the four minutes, four seconds mark following a three-pointer from Andrews, but the Cyclones stormed back to take a 21-20 lead through one.
Owens wound up with nine points and eight assists on the day.
Both teams clamped down in the second period and only combined for 23 points. Baylor and Iowa State traded blows for the entire quarter, but a jump shot from Littlepage-Buggs with 40 seconds left gave the Bears a two-point lead heading into the half.
The two opposing offenses picked back up a bit in the third and Baylor led by as much as seven with three minutes, 33 seconds remaining, but an 8-0 Cyclones run at the end of the quarter gave Iowa State a one-point lead. ISU’s junior forward Nyamer Diew was unconscious in the period, as she scored 13 points on no misses, draining two threes as well.
The trio of Asberry, Andrews and Littlepage-Buggs accounted for all 28 of the Bears’ fourth quarter points. Baylor was +7 in the scoring margin in the period and the guard tandem of Asberry and Andrews made nine of 11 free throws to propel the green and gold to victory.
The Bears were able to withstand a combined 48 points from ISU’s Nyamer (25) and senior guard Ashley Jones (23).
Baylor will travel back home and play host to No. 20 University of Oklahoma Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. Collen said she hopes the Baylor fanbase will show out just like how it has for the men as of late.
“Yeah, I’ve noticed in the last three [Baylor] men’s home games that it’s been a sellout at least the day before the game. I think it would mean a lot to these players,” Collen said. “There’s no question that [Oklahoma] ran away from West Virginia today, so they have a lot of rest for their key players. We certainly had to play ours the whole way. It was a nip and tuck game. So, we could really use the energy of the crowd to lift us when we’re tired.
“We got a little beat up at the end, we got knocked down a few times. [I] just would love to see people get as excited about coming out to the Ferrell Center, as these guys here at Hilton did. We’d love, love, love to see a huge crowd at Ferrell Center on Tuesday.”