Multitude of defenses 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 the last six minutes, however, Baylor found another gear and got back to the same balanced scoring attack that it had all season long, and closed out late for a 59-54 win at Hilton Coliseum.

The Cyclones played a multitude of defenses, 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 the 74 points it had averaged coming in.

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

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

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

Baylor junior Rachel Allison scored out of 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 in double figures on the night. Jessica Morrow had 18, and she was followed by Angela Tisdale and Rachel Allison with 14 and 10, respectively.

ISU coach Bill Fennelly said his team is just trying to take other teams out of their comfort zone.

“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, which only shot 27 percent from the field in the second half, was hampered by an apparent ankle injury suffered by junior Amanda Nisleit with 18 minutes left in the second half.

Nisleit, who is 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 second half. Her fourth 3-pointer with four seconds left brought the crowd of 10,613 to their feet and Iowa State into the locker room with a 31-27 lead.

Lacey said losing Nisleit was tough, especially with the way she played in the first half.

“We only had (Anderson) and (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.”

Fennelly said he would be surprised if Nisleit would be able to play on Wednesday at Missouri.