Baylor gets role right in ISU loss

Jeremy Gustafson

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – When Sheila Lambert and Danielle Crockrom got into early foul trouble things looked bleak for Baylor.

Enter Stasha Richards.

After making just 13 of 45 three-pointers on the year, Richards caught fire, making five of six treys against Iowa State and igniting Baylor to a 91-83 win in a Big 12 Conference Tournament semifinal game Thursday.

Lambert and Crockrom were their usual great selves, scoring 20 and 18 respectively, but it was role players Richards and Steffanie Blackmon who led the charge.

“Their role players won the game for them,” said ISU head coach Bill Fennelly, whose team’s shot at a Big 12 tournament three-peat was snapped. “They get 17 points from [Richards] and 16 from [Blackmon] and we didn’t get a whole lot from our role players.”

The loss snapped an eight-game Cyclone win streak in conference tournament play and ruined a shot for Iowa State to play regular season conference champion Oklahoma in Saturday’s final.

“The number one thing I was worried about was that every time they stole the ball it was a transition basket,” Fennelly said. “And that’s exactly what happened.”

In all Iowa State turned the ball over 21 times to Baylor’s six. The Lady Bears converted the Iowa State miscues into 32 points.

Lambert and guard Nicole Collins played quick stifling defense forcing many bad passes from Cyclone guards like Lindsey Wilson, who had seven turnovers. Lambert and Collins combined for five steals.

“[They’re] probably some of the best defenders we’ve seen,” said Wilson who finished with a game-high 24 points on seven of 15 shooting. “I think last time we played them we did a much better job of taking care of the ball.”

Baylor’s offense wasn’t too shabby either. The Lady Bears shot 62.5 percent in the second half and 53.7 percent (36 of 67) in the game. Iowa State shot 49.0 percent (25 of 51).

Iowa State had a chance late when it pulled to within three, 68-71, off of a Melanie Bremer trey on an inbounds play. Crockrom hit a two and the Cyclones got possession down by five. Then Lambert struck with the dagger.

She grabbed her third steal of the game and swiftly made her way to the basket. Bremer took a swipe at her, but she managed to layin the ball and get the foul. The free throw put Iowa State down 76-68 and the Cyclones never fully recovered.

It was reminiscent to the last game between the two teams, a 95-91 win for Baylor in Hilton Coliseum.

“It was eerie how much it was like the other game with them,” said Fennelly.

In that game Jordan Davis came off the bench to score 16 for Baylor and Lambert again sealed the game late.

Thursday it was Richards.

“I’ve been through both the good and the bad,” she said. “I got some good looks and luckily tonight they went in.”

Iowa State led 41-37 at halftime mainly because Lambert, who had eight points, picked up her second foul and was forced to sit 11 minutes of the half. Crockrom sat eight minutes with two fouls.

Collins led the way for Baylor with seven in Lambert’s absence.

The Cyclones `Big Three’ all scored in double digits in the first half, Welle had 10, Wilson had 13 and Tracy Gahan scored 11. But they knew it wasn’t safe.

“We knew that we were still in trouble at halftime,” said Fennelly, noting that Lambert and Crockrom would be playing under a lot of rest.

The Cyclones (23-8) now turn their attention to Selection Sunday where a sixth straight bid to the NCAA tournament appears to be in order. The only question is whether it will be in Hilton or not.

“You’re disappointed that you lost but there is still more work to be done,” Fennelly said. “I really, really hope that we’ll get the chance to play at home and get our seniors back home one more time.”

Selection Sunday starts at 4 p.m.


No. 7 BAYLOR 91, No. 11 IOWA ST. 83

IOWA ST. (23-8)

Cofield 1-3 0-0 2, Bremer 1-2 4-4 7, Welle 7-10 8-10 22, Wilson 7-15 8-9 24, Gahan 6-15 5-6 19, Junod 3-4 0-0 9, Fox 0-2 0-0 0, Paustian 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-51 25-29 83.

BAYLOR (26-4)

Crockrom 9-15 0-0 18, Richards 6-9 0-0 17, McCormack 1-3 3-3 5, Collins 4-8 1-3 10, Lambert 7-13 6-8 20, Stratton 0-4 0-0 0, Davis 2-4 0-0 5, Sords 0-0 0-0 0, Blackmon 7-11 2-2 16. Totals 36-67 12-16 91.

Halftime-Iowa St. 41-37. 3-Point goals-Iowa St. 8-22 (Junod 3-3, Wilson 2-7, Gahan 2-7, Bremer 1-1, Cofield 0-2, Fox 0-2), Baylor 7-15 (Richards 5-6, Collins 1-2, Davis 1-2, Lambert 0-3, Stratton 0-2). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Iowa St. 38 (Welle 11), Baylor 21 (McCormack 5). Assists-Iowa St. 16 (Wilson 7), Baylor 27 (Collins 10, Lambert 10). Total fouls-Iowa St. 16, Baylor 20. A-5,482.