No. 5 seed Baylor women’s basketball suffers 67-62 quarterfinal exit to No. 4 seed Iowa State

Graduate student forward Dre'Una Edwards led the Bears in scoring against the Cyclones for the second time this season, as she totaled 17 points on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Cannon Fritz | Sports Intern

Just when the Bears’ defense put them in position to advance to the semifinals, their offense went ice cold.

In a tight contest throughout, No. 5 seed Baylor women’s basketball came up short as No. 4 seed Iowa State squeezed out a 67-62 victory in the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on Saturday afternoon at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Leading the way for the Bears was graduate student forward Dre’Una Edwards, as she had 17 points, seven rebounds and two assists. Sophomore guard Bella Fontleroy contributed 14 points and five rebounds. Despite the loss, Baylor’s defense gave it a shot to win, proven by 11 steals on the game.

Still within striking distance, the Bears attempted to level the contest with less than 20 seconds on the game clock, but they came up short on a 3-point attempt and had another attempted shot blocked.

With 5.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Iowa State senior guard Emily Ryan put the game out of reach with two key free throws after Baylor was forced to foul. Those shots extended the lead to five, which wound up being the final margin.

The bulk of the Bears’ success came in the third quarter when they implemented a full-court press. They forced eight Cyclone turnovers and recorded six of their 11 steals in the frame, mirroring defensive success they found against Texas Tech on Friday.

Despite Baylor’s third-quarter effort, Iowa State flipped the switch in the fourth, holding the Bears to one made field goal on their last 18 attempts. The Cyclones finished the game on a 12-1 run over the last 3:09 of the fourth quarter, which propelled them to the win.

Iowa State will play the winner of No. 1 seed Oklahoma and No. 9 seed TCU, which was set to start shortly after the Cyclones’ game with the Bears. The semifinal contest will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Monday on ESPN2.

For Baylor, it now looks to the 2024 NCAA Division I women’s basketball Selection Show. The televised event is scheduled for 7 p.m. on March 17 on ESPN.

As of Saturday morning, the latest ESPN Bracketology has the Bears projected to head to South Bend, Ind., where Notre Dame would host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.