Cyclones’ rebounding struggles costs them against Baylor

Iowa State senior Kristin Scott fights for a rebound against two Baylor Bears on Jan. 31 at Hilton Coliseum.

Megan Teske

Iowa State was unable to make it three straight wins against Baylor on Sunday afternoon when the Cyclones fell to the Lady Bears 85-77.

Similar to the game earlier in the season in Waco, Texas, Sunday’s game at Hilton Coliseum was an aggressive one, but this time, the Lady Bears — not coming off of a COVID-19 pause this time — won out.

Iowa State was heavily outrebounded by Baylor all game, with the Lady Bears bringing in 51 boards to the Cyclones’ 26.

Cyclones’ Head Coach Bill Fennelly said he was really pleased with the effort from the team, but the rebounding was the difference in the game.

“We just could not keep [Baylor] off the board,” Fennelly said. “That is an outstanding team, that’s Baylor basketball, but hopefully we learn from it and did enough good things to build on.”

Not only were the Cyclones outrebounded on the defensive end, but the Lady Bears also collected more offensive rebounds.

Baylor hauled in 23 offensive rebounds — good for 21 second-chance points — while Iowa State had eight offensive boards and five second-chance points.

Fennelly said the 23 offensive boards was the stat that jumped off the page, and that it was the difference in the game.

“You can’t give great teams extra possessions, which means extra shots, which means extra points, which means fouls, which means free throws,” Fennelly said. “Which, none of that is good, none of that is good.”

Fennelly said before the game if Iowa State could keep it to 10 to 12 offensive rebounds, the Cyclones could hang around, but 23 offensive rebounds was a big number and something they need to clean up.

Despite not being able to keep up with Baylor’s rebounding, Iowa State was able to hang with the Lady Bears throughout most of the game, with the Cyclones only down by one heading into the final quarter.

Junior guard Ashley Joens said anytime you can be that close to a highly ranked team like Baylor is good.

“We just knew that we had to get in there,” Joens said. “We had to compete like coach said, limit our live-ball turnovers and rebound was the big one.”

Iowa State’s ability to stick with Baylor was mostly due to the Cyclones’ ability to get to the line and shoot free throws.

Fouls were the name of the game Sunday, with Baylor tallying 22 and Iowa State totaling 20.

The Cyclones shot 24 free throws Sunday afternoon and made 23 of them — 96 percent. The Lady Bears shot 25 free throws and made 21 of them, an 84 percent mark.

Joens, the Cyclones’ leading scorer with 25 points, went 10-10 on free-throw attempts Sunday.

Fennelly said Baylor is a great defensive team and it’s tough to be able to draw fouls against them, but that he thought the Cyclones did a good job.

“We got to the free-throw line, our offense was not the problem,” Fennelly said. “You score 77 on Baylor, you’re doing something right, we made our free throws, we made our threes.”