OKLAHOMA CITY – No. 13 Iowa State (25-8) made a valiant effort against No. 1 Baylor (31-1), but the Lady Bears were able to pull away in the fourth quarter to claim the title at the 2019 Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship 67-49 on Monday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The loss snapped ISU’s five-game win streak, and was the Cyclones’ first since falling to the Lady Bears on Feb. 23.
In defeat, Iowa State was led by Alexa Middleton’s 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Bridget Carleton added 13 points and six rebounds. Carleton and Middleton were both named to the Championship All-Tournament Team, the first time ISU has had an honoree since 2013 and first time with multiple since 2001.
How It Happened
ISU was the first on the board with an Alexa Middleton 18-footer, but Baylor immediately responded with an 8-0 run to get ahead. The BU lead reached double figures at 16-6 on consecutive Chloe Jackson lay-ins, but ISU was able to step it up defensively forcing three-straight BU turnovers which was converted into a 7-0 ISU run to get back within five at 18-13 to end the quarter.
The Cyclones kept the momentum going to open the quarter as Middleton got the first five points of the quarter to knot it up again at 18-18. Baylor methodically put together an 8-0 run to get back ahead, taking advantage of 10-straight empty possessions from the Cyclone offense. However, Burkhall stepped up with a crucial three-point play to cut the Lady Bear halftime advantage to 30-25.
The Cyclones battled hard to start the second half and were rewarded by knotting the contest up at 37-37 on an Ashley Joens lay-in and again at 41-41 on a Carleton turnaround jumper. However, each time Baylor had the answers and eventually grinded back ahead by five at 46-41. Middleton continued her good work for ISU, as she got ISU back within four at 48-44 to close the period.
ISU’s two misses and two turnovers to start the fourth allowed BU to get ahead by nine at 53-44. ISU finally got on the board with a Carleton bucket after 3:20 being held off the board. It was too little too late, as Baylor hit 8-of-13 shots in the final quarter while ISU just had two buckets.
Players of Note
Alexa Middleton had another one of her best performances as a Cyclone 24 hours after her best. The redshirt senior finished with 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting. She also had three assists.
Bridget Carleton wrapped up her Big 12 tournament with 13 points and six rebounds. In ISU’s three meetings against the No. 1 Lady Bears this year, Carleton finished with a combined 69 points.
No. 13 Iowa State will learn its postseason fate next Monday, March 18, during the 2019 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Selection Show. The show will be at 6 p.m. and televised on ESPN.