Bill Fennelly called it borderline impossible.
Presented with Iowa State’s collapsing man-to-man defense that sagged to clog the paint, Baylor, with a dominant inside threat to keep the Cyclones honest, unleashed an arsenal attack from the perimeter.
The Lady Bears drilled a season-high 12 3-pointers en route to an 89-49 win over Iowa State Wednesday night inside the Ferrell Center to move to 3-0 in Big 12 play.
“When they shoot it like that, a lot of people are in a lot of trouble,” said Fennelly, the Cyclone head coach. “Certainly, they shot it great tonight.”
It all started with Natalie Chou. The sophomore was on fire to start. Chou sank her first five 3-point attempts, which matched her career high in makes from deep.
“I thought the opportunity was there to shoot it,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said. “I thought it was very obvious once the game started what they were doing to Kalani and Cox and trying not to let them get as much. We can shoot it. I tell people that all the time.
“We don’t have to shoot a lot of 3s when you have 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-4 inside. I think you guys saw tonight, if we have to shoot it we’ll shoot it and keep shooting it.”
With the defense the Cyclones played — with ISU players sagging toward the inside while double and triple-teaming the Baylor bigs — the Lady Bears had plenty of good looks from the perimeter. And they made most of them.
When Lauren Cox was asked if a 3-pointer was more of an open shot against Iowa State, the sophomore forward answered, “Yes.” As a team, the Lady Bears finished 12-for-29 from the 3-point line. Those 23 attempts from deep made up 35 percent of the shots Baylor took.
“We got a lot of looks tonight,” Mulkey said. “We’re not going to get a lot of looks against teams that match up well with us. Who would that be? I don’t know, Texas, Oklahoma State, West Virginia. When you play the Iowa States and Kansas States, those defenses give you those looks. You’re not going to get that every night.”
Chou led Baylor offensively with 17 points, followed by Cox with 14, Kalani Brown with 13, and Alexis Morris and Juicy Landrum with 10 each. The Lady Bears finished shooting 53.8 percent from the floor.
Defensively, Baylor held a team known for its own outside shooting to its fewest 3-point makes this season. Iowa State is heralded for its perimeter accuracy as the Big 12 leader in 3-pointers per game at 9.1.
This has been Iowa State’s game plan for more than 20 years as the Cyclones have made and attempted the most 3-point shots in the country since the 1995-96 season.
But against the Lady Bears on Wednesday night, the Cyclones were only 3 for 20 from long range.
“I thought Dekeiya Cohen set the tone for us on the defensive end,” Mulkey said. “She guarded (Bridget) Carleton. I don’t know, Carleton had maybe two points at half. ... I thought our defense, guys, we didn’t allow them to penetrate, reverse dribble, set flare screens. We communicated. We talked. We didn’t help ball-side but we knew help with the post players. I thought our defense was very good in the first half.”
Carleton, who came into the contest averaging 19.2 points per game, finished with 15. The other Cyclone to finish in double figures was Emily Durham with 10 points.
“We didn’t make many shots,” Fennelly said. “I think the first five shots of the game are shots we’d take every time, and they didn’t go in. Then you start to press a little bit, and you start to try and beat them off the bounce a little bit, and they helped a lot. When you’re missing, we’ve got some kids that when they miss then they don’t want the ball and kind of stand there and hide a little bit. Against a team like this, that’s a bad thing.”