By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Foundation
You can't keep a good woman down, much less two good women that stand 6-foot-7 and 6-4.
After combining for just 17 points in their last game, Kalani Brown and Lauren Cox scored 25 and 21 points, respectively, and helped the fourth-ranked Baylor Lady Bears finish off a series sweep with a 79-50 win over the Iowa State Cyclones Wednesday night before a crowd of 9,510 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames.
"I knew I had to come out here and just prove myself again, get my confidence back," said the 6-4 Cox, who finished a block shy of a triple-double with 21 points, 15 rebounds and a career-high nine blocks.
Echoing Cox's comment, the 6-7 Brown said the post duo wasn't "really a factor in the last game (74-52 win at Oklahoma), and we just had something to prove. We had to get our feet back under us and work together."
That was particularly the case in the second quarter, when they each fed the other post three times for 13 of the team's 19 points.
"It's a trust thing," Cox said. "We know when we throw it, the other person is going to catch it and score."
This one was all but over in the first quarter, when Baylor (16-1, 6-0) hit eight of its first 13 shots and took a 19-2 lead. Iowa State (8-10, 2-5) was a dismal 1-of-17 in the opening quarter and 0-for-9 from outside the arc, with Bridget Carleton knocking down a jumper at the 6:04 mark for the Cyclones' only points in the period.
"When you're 1-for-17 in the first quarter, you're not going to beat Ames Middle School. No offense to Ames Middle School," Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. "I don't care who you play against, that's going to put you in a hole. And when you play a great team like Baylor, it's going to put you in a huge hole."
The Cyclones never dug their way out of that deep hole, but they did score 17 points each in the next two quarters and actually outscored Baylor, 17-14, in the third. Carleton broke out of a slump to hit three 3-pointers and score a team-high 24 points to go with eight rebounds and four steals.
"She's a great player," Cox said of Carleton, a returning All-Big 12 pick who has played for Canada's U16, U17, U18 and U19 teams. "I've played against her before with USA Basketball. She's quick, and it was tiring, but I just had to fight through it."
Making her first career start, freshman Didi Richards scored the Lady Bears' first points on a put-back off an offensive board, then assisted on the next four buckets to help Baylor take an early 11-2 lead. But, she was called for two charges in the first seven minutes and then picked up her third foul less than a minute into the third quarter.
"Really a typical freshman mistake," associate head coach Bill Brock said. "She fouled the kid on the third foul 25 feet from the goal. You don't want to do that kind of stuff, and she'll learn. She got some very valuable minutes tonight and I just think her energy on defense really helped us."
Baylor dominated on the defensive end, holding the Cyclones to 25 percent shooting overall and 5-of-28 outside the arc and dominating the boards, 47-29. Iowa State came in leading the Big 12 and ranked in the top 50 nationally, with 8.4 made 3-pointers per game.
"I thought we helped each other a lot tonight on the picks," Mulkey said. "We never know how we're going to shoot on the road. Natalie Chou lit up Iowa State at our place (17 points in an 89-49 win at home on Jan. 3). She plays 36 minutes tonight and doesn't score a bucket (0-for-6) and we still win by 29. Road wins are tough to come by. I've come to Hilton many a time and left disappointed."
Not this time, though. Senior point guard Kristy Wallace scored 16, giving the Lady Bears three double-figure scorers. Other than Carleton, Iowa State's only real scoring threats were freshmen Rae Johnson and Kristin Scott with 10 and nine points, respectively.
After a 3-0 road swing with wins over Kansas, Oklahoma and Iowa State, Baylor returns home to host Kansas State (11-7, 3-4) at 6 p.m. Saturday and then No. 9 Texas (14-3, 5-1) at 6 p.m. next Thursday, Jan. 25.
"I kind of miss my fans," Brown said. "I'm ready."