WACO, Texas (AP) — Lauren Cox ended the first half for second-ranked Baylor with a 3-pointer from the right corner, part of spurt that put the Lady Bears ahead to stay against Iowa State.
Baylor kept pulling away after the break, quickly pushing to a double-digit lead when the 6-foot-4 Cox made a strong inside move for a reverse layup less than two minutes into second half.
Cox scored 22 points to lead all five Baylor starters in double figures during an 84-69 win Wednesday night over the No. 20 Cyclones, who couldn’t keep up when standout guard Bridget Carleton suddenly quit scoring.
“Just to score the last basket before the half, I think whoever gets that has that confidence going into the second half,” Cox said. “And I think that’s what’s really helped us, that and our defense really helped us in the third quarter.”
A tying layup by Cox started an 8-0 run that put Baylor (16-1, 6-0 Big 12) ahead to stay. That was part of a half-ending 13-5 surge for the Lady Bears, who then outscored Iowa State 25-12 in the third quarter.
Iowa State (14-5, 4-3) was ahead 30-28, its last lead matching its largest, when Carleton converted a three-point play with about 5½ minutes left in the first half. She made a steal and drove for a layup while being fouled. Carleton scored 24 of her 28 points in the first half.
Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said the Lady Bears didn’t make any significant changes defensively at halftime.
“I just went in and said, ‘Guys, she’s got 24 of their 35 points. Got to do a better job harassing her, just make it even tougher.’ … We had to do a better job man-to-man and really bodying up and realizing that I’m not going to have help tonight,” Mulkey said. “I just thought we just withstood it. And in the third quarter, we just opened it up a little bit.”
Kalani Brown had 18 points for Baylor. Juicy Landrum scored 16 and DiDi Richards added 15 while Chloe Jackson had 11 points and 11 assists.
Alexa Middleton finished with 18 points for the Cyclones, and Kristin Scott had 12.
Carleton scored 16 points in the first quarter, making six shots in a row after missing Iowa State’s opening attempt. She hit a 3-pointer before five layups — three of them in a 70-second span for a 15-13 lead.
“We told Bridget depending on matchup, attack. Early they were not coming off shooters. Thought she could get by them a little bit,” coach Bill Fennelly said. “Funky moves around the basket. She can score. Stronger kid than she looks. Hit some 3s, too. Phenomenal first half. Kept us in the game.”
Iowa State: Carleton going inside kept the Cyclones close during the first half even though they weren’t making their 3-pointers. They finished 7 of 25 (28 percent) from beyond the arc. Iowa State is 1-3 against Top 25 teams this season.
Baylor: The Lady Bears have won 28 consecutive regular-season Big 12 games since late in the 2016-17 season. Their conference wins this season are by an average of nearly 22 points. Iowa State matched Kansas State’s 15 points for the closest margin.
Baylor had assists on 29 of its 34 field goals, and only 11 turnovers. … There were six ties and five lead changes, all in the first half. … Jackson, a graduate transfer from LSU, had her first double-double at Baylor. Her 11 assists were a career high. “I actually didn’t even know I had a double-double, so that’s cool,” Jackson said.
Iowa State is on the road for the third time in four games, Saturday at Oklahoma State.
Baylor plays its next two games in Oklahoma, on Sunday against the Sooners and next Wednesday at Oklahoma State.
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