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Baylor Women's Basketball

Bears Dominate Cyclones 87-62, Earn Share of 12th Straight Big 12 Title

February 28, 2022
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AMES, Iowa — The No. 5 Baylor women’s basketball team (24-5, 14-3) won at least a share of their 12th straight Big 12 regular-season conference championship by dominating the No. 9 Iowa State Cyclones (24-5, 13-4) 87-62.

NaLyssa Smith played perhaps her best game of the year scoring 28, grabbing a career-high 20 rebounds, and registering four blocks. You could see in her play just how badly she wanted to win tonight.

Jordan Lewis was not far behind Smith, netting herself 23 points while dishing out 6 assists. She hit five of her seven three-pointers to balance out Smith’s inside attack.

Caitlin Bickle also stepped up tonight with a career-high-tying 13 points and five boards in relief of Queen Egbo. Egbo picked up her 4th personal foul just two minutes into the second half and played just 15 total minutes.

Right from the tip, it was apparent that both sides were locked in. The crowd in the Hilton Coliseum was rocking and the Bears were crisp and active on both ends early.

It took a noticeable push from both the players and the crowd for the Cyclones to get within one point by the end of the first frame, but the Bears pushed back harder in the second quarter.

After falling down 24-21, Baylor went on a 20-5 run to close out the first half. Iowa State was held without a field goal for the last five minutes of the quarter, and NaLyssa Smith was simply unstoppable.

It did not matter where Smith was on the court, she was nailing turnaround jumpers over both shoulders without hesitation. By halftime, she had racked up 19 points and 9 rebounds.

“Obviously NaLyssa Smith looked like the national player of the year today,” said Coach Nicki Collen after the game, “and she played like it.”

In the second half, Lewis took over as the main scorer. Her 17 second-half points helped propel the Bears to a 28-14 third quarter, which expanded Baylor’s 12 point halftime lead to 26.

Despite Egbo’s foul trouble, that lead would grow as large as 30 points in the final frame.

Ashley Joens fought all night to keep her Cyclones in it, but she just could not match NaLyssa Smith in the battle of the star players. Joens did register 19 points, but she went just 4-19 from the field and fouled out with 6 minutes left.

Egbo helped solidify the win in the fourth finishing with 10 points and eight rebounds. Ja’Mee Asberry also scored 10 points, offering a solid 31 minutes to the team when the posts were in some foul trouble.

With this 87-62 win, the Bears extended their streak to 12 consecutive Big 12 regular-season titles, secured the top seed for the upcoming conference tournament, and became the first team since Texas Tech in 2000 to start conference 0-2 and still win the league.

On winning the Big 12 coach Collen said, “It’s the expectation here. The pressure was on… everyone was counting us out and we were vulnerable.”

She later added, “We proved tonight that we were the better team and we’re going to have to keep proving it.”

Now the Bears can look ahead to the regular-season finale at home against Texas Tech on Sunday at 2 PM. That game will be available on ESPN+.

If you are at all concerned about a letdown on Sunday, coach Collen was very clear: “We’ve got one more game. We don’t want to share.”

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Bears Dominate Cyclones 87-62, Earn Share of 12th Straight Big 12 Title

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