AMES, Iowa (AP) — Just 20 seconds into her first career start, Baylor freshman Didi Richards scored on a putback.
That would be as close as Iowa State would ever get.
Kalani Brown scored 25 points, Lauren Cox had 21 points, 15 rebounds and a career-high nine blocks, and No. 4 Baylor beat Iowa State 79-50 on Wednesday for its 13th straight win.
Kristy Wallace scored 16 points for the Lady Bears (16-1, 6-0 Big 12), who never trailed in picking up their sixth straight league win by at least 22 points.
“Our defense is pretty good. I thought we helped each other a lot,” said Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, whose team held the Cyclones to 24.6 percent shooting. “It’s a road win. Road wins are tough to come by.”
Baylor outscored the Cyclones (8-10, 2-5) by 38 in the first half two weeks ago in Waco, and it was nearly as dominant early on in the rematch. The Lady Bears stormed out to a 19-2 lead after a quarter — with Iowa State missing 19 of its first 20 shots — and pushed their lead to 26-4 less than 13 minutes into play.
It was all keyed by Brown and Cox, whose interior play suffocated the Cyclones.
“Just good defense. Coach (Mulkey) puts emphasis on that all the time, and I tried to move my feet. I had to play inside and out,” Cox said.
Though the outcome was never really in doubt, Baylor let Iowa State climb back to 45-30 in the third quarter. But Wallace drilled a corner 3 to put the Lady Bears back ahead by 20.
Bridget Carelton had 24 points for the Cyclones, who’ve lost five of six.
“They’re a monster,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “I guess the only good thing about tonight is that we don’t have to play them again.”
Baylor rested senior Dekeiya Cohen after she played 36 minutes against Oklahoma. Cohen, a co-captain, is averaging 10.8 points and 7.4 rebounds a game.
THE BIG PICTURE
Baylor: The 6-foot-7 Brown and the 6-foot-4 Cox are so good that most teams simply don’t have an answer for them, especially when Cox is burying top of the key 3s like she was against Iowa State. But the Lady Bears were sluggish coming out of the halftime break, and a stronger team — like Texas, for instance — might have made them pay for that.
Iowa State: It’s no shame to lose to a team as talented as Baylor. But barring a miracle, the Cyclones will miss the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years after earning nine straight bids. Though Fennelly has a lifetime contract for a reason, next year will be crucial for a program used to competing at a high level.
As the highest-ranked team with a loss, Baylor likely isn’t moving up until unbeatens Connecticut, Louisville or Mississippi State lose.
Iowa State was 1 of 17 shooting in the first quarter and 2 of 15 from 3-point range in the first half. ...Cox, a sophomore, posted her sixth double-double of the season and the seventh of her career. ...Brown had nine rebounds as well. ...The Cyclones were just 5 of 28 from 3-point range. ...Baylor turned it over 17 times, but it outscored Iowa State 36-16 in the paint.
SHE SAID IT
“She has a lot on her shoulders with this team,” Mulkey said of Carleton, the only Cyclones player with more than 10 points. “We threw a lot of different people at her.”
Baylor hosts Kansas State on Saturday.
Iowa State hosts No. 17 West Virginia on Saturday.