Three takeaways: Baylor Bears, they’re legit

Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly ducks his head as he walks off the court following the Cyclones 83-52 loss to No. 2 Baylor. 

Jack Macdonald

In a game that was over from the opening tip, No. 6 Baylor dominated Iowa State from start to finish. The Lady Bears (13-1, 3-0 Big 12) ran the Cyclones (7-7, 1-2 Big 12) out of the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas, en route to a 89-49 win. 

The last time the Cyclones knocked of Baylor was in 2015, and tonight’s loss extends Iowa State’s winless streak to five against the Lady Bears. 

Here are three takeaways from Iowa State’s beating. 

Baylor can play 

It was already a known fact that Baylor was no joke, but the Cyclones witnessed first-hand just how legitimate this team is. Baylor’s lone blemish on its record came from the hands of then-No. 8 UCLA in an 82-68 drubbing. 

Other than that loss, the Lady Bears have glided through the rest of their schedule, including the three Big 12 games they have played. Kansas State and Texas Tech were the first two teams in the Big 12 to fall victim to Baylor and both in embarrassing fashion (much like the Cyclones). 

“Obviously we weren’t in the game from the start,” said coach Bill Fennelly. “That’s a great Baylor team, but disappointed we didn’t do some things to give ourselves a chance to compete a little bit.”

The only positive the Cyclones can take away from the game is that it held Kalani Brown, who’s ranked ninth in the nation in scoring, to only 13 points. While that is almost 10 points under her average, she only played 25 minutes as coach Kim Mulkey didn’t want to risk any injury with the game already wrapped up. 

One last stat to prove Baylor’s skill level, the Lady Bears shot a cool 53.8 percent from the field. That total would lead the nation if that was their season average. Without tonight’s performance factored in, Baylor currently sits in second at 52.8 percent, while the University of Connecticut (UConn) leads at 53.4.

Cyclones go dry in shooting department

The score might have already given it away, but the Cyclones had a poor shooting night. A very, very poor shooting night. 

“I think we missed our first seven shots and pretty much the game was over at that point,” Fennelly said. 

The 28.6 percent that they shot from the field tonight was the lowest of the season for Iowa State. The previous low was 29.5 percent in a loss to Iowa. A loss that was only by six, not 40. Junior Bridget Carleton led the squad with 15 points on 5-of-17 shooting from the field. Carleton tacked on five rebounds to go with zero assists and four turnovers. 

The only other game Carleton had zero assists was in an 81-60 trouncing from Central Michigan. The theme is apparent — no assists from Carleton equals little success for the Cyclones. 

“It’s difficult to guard [them],” Carleton said. 

Iowa State, one of the best in the Big 12 in 3-point shooting, shot a miserable 3-of-20 from behind the arc. In numbers, that’s 15 percent. In NCAA Division I women’s basketball, not one team averages under 20 percent from behind the arc in a game. And in layman’s terms, that is just plain old bad. 

All-around ugly night 

It’s obvious the Cyclones had a bad night. And it wasn’t just in one area. The 20 turnovers was well over their season average of 14.7. The four assists was VERY below their season average of 14.5 per game. 

To make matters ugly, senior Claire Ricketts fouled out of the contest. That came in just seven minutes of playing time. At one point in time, Ricketts had four of those fouls in just three minutes. Nonetheless, it was just that kind of night for the Cyclones. 

The 40-point loss was Fennelly’s worse defeat in his tenure at Iowa State. In his 22 full seasons, Fennelly previously had been beaten by 38 two times. 

“[Baylor] is a complete team,” Fennelly said. “When you have that kind of length inside it challenges at both ends of the floor.”

On the bright side — if there is a bright side — Iowa State only has to face Baylor one more time this season.