AMES, Iowa — It was 20 degrees outside in Ames, Iowa when No. 4 Baylor tipped off against Iowa State inside Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones didn’t shoot above the external temperature for the game until the second half as the suffocating Lady Bear defense wasn’t affected by the temperature or the nearly 900-mile trip north from Waco.
Iowa State finished with only two points in the first quarter, and had 19 at the half, as Baylor used a 17-point lead after the first quarter to win a 79-50 battle against the Cyclones on the road.
“I thought we pushed them way out of their comfort zone early,” Baylor associate coach Bill Brock said on a postgame radio interview. “Iowa State set picks and flare screens early. I thought out kids communicated great and stayed up in their space and didn’t give them much room to operate. ... Our kids did an outstanding job defensively and that set the tone for the game.”
Two weeks ago when these two teams met for the first time this season, the Lady Bears lit it up from behind the 3-point line. Wednesday night, it was all about the duo of Kalani Brown and Lauren Cox inside.
Cox finished just shy of a triple double as the sophomore racked up 21 points, 15 rebounds and a career-high nine blocks.
Brown added 25 points and nine rebounds as the Lady Bears outscored Iowa State, 36-16, inside the paint.
“Me and Lauren weren’t really a factor in the last game (at Oklahoma),” Brown said. “We just had something to prove. We had to get our feet back under us and work together.”
Kristy Wallace was the only other Baylor player to finish in double digits as she racked up 16 points. Overall, the Lady Bears shot 52.6 percent from the floor and 45.4 percent from the 3-point line.
Iowa State finished shooting 24.6 percent from the field, led by Bridget Carleton with 24 points.
Baylor got off to a hot start behind its defense as the Lady Bears held a 19-2 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“I think everybody had something to prove,” Brown said. “We wanted to play better as a team, and I think we did that, from guards to posts. It was a great team win.”
That fast start was vital for Baylor as Iowa State came storming back in the second and third quarters. During those two frames alone, the Lady Bears outscored the Cyclones by only a point. Despite those close margins, Baylor shot better than 57 percent from the field in the fourth quarter to outscore Iowa State by 11 en route to a 29 point victory on the road.
Now, the Lady Bears return home for the first time in nearly three weeks. Saturday evening’s contest against Kansas State will be the first time since Baylor hosted Iowa State back on Jan. 3 that the Lady Bears play inside the Ferrell Center.
“It does (feel like it’s been forever),” Brown said. “I kind of miss my fans.”