Different defensive styles not enough against Baylor

Matt Gubbels

For the first 34 minutes of its game Saturday, the ISU women’s basketball team was able to slow down the vaunted attack of the No. 9 Baylor Bears.

In those last six minutes, however, Baylor found another gear and got back to the same balanced scoring attack it used all season and closed out late for a 59-54 win at Hilton Coliseum.

The Cyclones played a multitude of types of defense, including a diamond-and-one and a 2-3 zone, to try and match up with the Bears’ offense, which was held 15 points below its season average of 74.

Junior Heather Ezell said Iowa State tried to change defenses to match the personnel Baylor had on the floor.

“We changed it up every time they made a substitution,” Ezell said. “We just tried to catch them off guard and get a stop.”

Iowa State led, 50-44, after a short jumper by sophomore Alison Lacey with 6:07 remaining capped a 6-0 run and gave the Cyclones their biggest lead of the contest.

Baylor junior Rachel Allison scored right after the subsequent 30-second timeout called by Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, which started a 15-4 spurt to end the game. Four different players scored during the stretch.

Mulkey said she just put her confidence and trust in who is on the floor for her team.

“The ball is in their hands,” Mulkey said. “You didn’t know who was going to score for us – and that’s a good thing.”

Baylor scored the last seven points of the game after Lacey scored with 3:08 to go.

In all, Baylor had three players who scored in double-digits. Jessica Morrow had 18, and she was followed by Angela Tisdale and Rachel Allison with 14 and 10, respectively.

Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said his team is just trying to take other teams out of their comfort zones.

“We were just trying to smoke-and-mirror them a little bit to stay in the game,” Fennelly said. “Defensively, our team has been great all year. Our trouble is occasionally a lack of effort on a critical play or we can’t shoot.”

Iowa State’s attack on both ends of the floor was hampered by 28 percent second-half shooting and an apparent ankle injury suffered by junior Amanda Nisleit with 18 minutes left in the second half.

Nisleit, the third Cyclone post player to get hurt this season, was 4 of 5 from behind the arc and had 12 points to key the Iowa State offense in the first half.

Lacey said losing Nisleit was tough, especially with the way she played in the first half. Not only did the team miss her shooting, but he loss left them extremely thin down low.

“We only had [Jocelyn Anderson] and [Genesis Lightbourne] left for post players,” Lacey said. “Our offense is cut in half when we have four guards – it was tough to get an open shot out there, and everyone missed [Nisleit] out there.”