Three Big Takeaways: Iowa State gets a historic win over Baylor in double-overtime thriller


Daniel Jacobi II

Ashley Joens attempts a layup during the game against Texas in Hilton Coliseum on Feb. 13, 2023

Christian Royston, Sports Reporter

Iowa State women’s basketball got the better of Baylor in the teams’ second meeting in historic fashion, leaving the road with an 81-77 win in double overtime.

The Cyclones had only won two games ever in Waco, Texas before Saturday, making the win mean even more to the team. Last season, the Cyclones dropped both meetings with the Bears, and after a loss at home to the Bears recently, the Cyclones needed a win.

With the season coming to a close, Iowa State needed to make a final push to improve its seeding for the postseason. With Ashley Joens leading the way with 27 points, the Cyclones improved to 9-5 in conference play.

Slow start for Joens yields historic performance

It’s rare for Joens to have a quiet game, and even rarer for her to start the game in a drought. 

Joens started the game scoreless in the first quarter. She missed every single one of her five shots from the field.

That trend looked to continue in the second quarter. With the team struggling to find cracks in Baylor’s intense defense, shots weren’t falling for anyone.

However, with how dominant a scorer Joens is, points were bound to come her way. Halfway through the second quarter, Joens drove to the rim to bully a shot into the basket. 

Joens’ 15-minute scoring drought finally ended. However, her problems weren’t magically cured after getting on the board. 

At the end of the first half, Joens was shooting 1-7 from the field, still sitting at two points. If the Cyclones wanted any chance of toppling the Bears, they needed Joens to do what she does best.

After putting up her first basket earlier in the game, Joens was just one point away from taking the No. 2 spot on the Big 12 career scoring list, sitting just behind former Baylor Bear Brittney Griner.

That final history-making point didn’t come until the final minutes of the third quarter. The Cyclones hadn’t seen much of the free-throw line throughout the game, but Joens found her way to the line after getting fouled on a shot attempt.

Lexi Donarski puts up a 3 against Texas on Feb. 13, 2023. (Tyler Coe)

As Joens knocked down her two shots, she cemented her name in Big 12 history. Although she was still under double-digits, Joens got two more chances at the line to get up to six points at the end of the third quarter.

With Baylor looking to close out another win against Iowa State, Joens started off the final quarter hot. Joens didn’t let the previously missed shots weigh on her mind as she knocked down a big three to retake the lead for the Cyclones.

The final quarter was Joens’ time to shine, as she got opportunities time and time again from the free-throw line to keep the Cyclones in the game. Halfway through the final quarter, Joens led the Cyclones in scoring, making seven of her eight free throws to put up 12 points.

As the Cyclones surged back to tie up the game, Joens was the leader on offense. With Joens playing like she usually does, the Cyclones were able to make up for the early issues.

Wasted possessions nearly cost a win

The Cyclones ended up finding themselves in droughts constantly throughout the game. The droughts came at the heels of mistakes on offense, costing them opportunities.

Early on, it seemed as though Baylor’s defense was going to be a massive problem for the Cyclones. No matter how much the Cyclones moved the ball or tried to drive to the rim, points weren’t easy to come by.

With time ticking down in the first half, Baylor was starting to separate itself from Iowa State. The Cyclones were leading by six points previously, but then the team went ice cold.

In the final five minutes of the second quarter, the Cyclones had more turnovers than field goals made. It seemed every possession was ending with an easy-to-avoid turnover or a missed shot.

Halfway through the second quarter, the Cyclones maintained their small lead until a surge of offense from the Bears. In a matter of minutes, Baylor put together an 11-0 run to take the lead back for the first time since the start of the game.

At the end of the half, the Cyclones had 14 turnovers. Twice as many as Baylor and a big factor in the Cyclones trailing by three going into the second half.

Those turnovers persisted into the second half as the Cyclones continued to struggle against Baylor’s aggressive defense. As the Cyclones finally took a lead in the third quarter, those turnovers came back to bite them.

Baylor was able to mount a six-point lead off a pair of turnovers from the Cyclones. Iowa State was able to focus up with time running out in the third quarter to pull the game back and tie it up 41-41.

However, another mistake-filled possession early in the final quarter gave all the momentum back to Baylor. Nearing the final media timeout, Kane kicked the ball out to Joens, who put up a shot from beyond the arc.

Joens’ shot missed, and Baylor got the rebound. As the Cyclones were bounding back down the court to get on defense, Denae Fritz barrelled through a Baylor player to pick up another foul.

While the officials were looking back at the possession, they looked at contact between Morgan Kane and a defender and saw that she swiped at the Baylor player’s eye. The officials gave Kane the technical foul, and Baylor was able to get a big swing from the free throws to build its lead back up.

However, the Cyclones weren’t going to just roll over and take the loss. With time ticking down, the Cyclones pushed back to tie up the game with just seconds left.

With the game tied and time nearly out, Baylor found itself back at the free-throw line. However, it was Baylor’s turn for an empty possession. 

The Bears just needed one free throw to fall to secure a win, but both shots bounced off the rim and out of the basket. The game was still tied 59-59.

Extra basketball in Waco

As the final buzzer rang in the fourth quarter, Iowa State and Baylor went to overtime.

Neither team had momentum in their favor, as both teams were playing without key players after Nyamer Diew and Kane fouled out for Iowa State, and Caitlin Bickle fouled out for Baylor.

Both teams started off hot as Joens continued her scoring dominance, pushing through the lane to secure more points as she had over 20 points on the night. Baylor’s freshmen, Bella Fontleroy and Darianna Littlepage-Buggs were keeping Baylor in the game, leading their team with 17 points each. 

With a minute left in overtime, Baylor was able to pick up an offensive rebound to push its lead to three. Iowa State tried its best to answer back on the offensive end of the court.

Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw lobbed a pass under the basket to Emily Ryan, who hit the layup to cut Baylor’s lead to one. On the other end of the court, Baylor pulled the exact same maneuver.

With 30 seconds left in the game, the Cyclones were once again trailing by three. That changed fast, as Lexi Donarski got a wide open look from beyond the arc to tie the game back up with the clock draining yet again. With that, a second overtime was around the corner.

The second overtime started favoring the Cyclones. Donarski bullied her way to the rim to pick up two points for the Cyclones just before Joens knocked down a wide-open triple to build up a five-point lead.

The Cyclones clung to that lead throughout the second overtime.

That lead fell to one as Baylor surged back with time running out. With 10 seconds left in the game, Iowa State had the ball, and Baylor was looking to foul to get the ball back.

Joens had the first set of free throws and knocked them both down to bring her total to 26 points. With just nine seconds left, Baylor inbounded the ball, looking for a three-pointer to tie. 

Luck was on Iowa State’s side as the Baylor inbounder dribbled the ball off of Donarski’s leg to give the turnover to Joens. Four seconds left on the clock and Joens went back to the line to put the game away.

Joens knocked down her 11th free throw of the game to put the Cyclones up by two scores.

With that, the Cyclones secured a historic win on the road against Baylor, 81-77. The third time ever that the Cyclones left Waco with a win.