AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State women’s basketball team (18-11, 10-8 Big 12) pulled off a historic upset, 57-56, over No. 2 Baylor (28-2, 17-1 Big 12) on Sunday afternoon at Hilton Coliseum. The Senior Day victory matches the highest-ranked win in program history (vs. No. 2 Texas Tech – Jan. 14, 2004).
With the game tied and just 1.0 second remaining on the clock, Ashley Joens was fouled in the act of shooting on an inbounds play, sending the star sophomore to the free throw line. Joens knocked down the first and secured a Senior Day victory to remember for Iowa State’s four senior student-athletes: Adriana Camber, Ines Nezerwa, Jade Thurmon and Nia Washington.
Iowa State’s win also snapped Baylor’s 58-game winning streak in Big 12 play, the sixth-longest conference-win streak in NCAA history.
How it Happened
The Cyclones got off to a fast start behind Bill Fennelly‘s senior-heavy starting lineup. Thurmon, making her ninth start of the season, gave Iowa State an early spark by scoring seven of ISU’s first 10 points, tying the contest at 10-10 on a layup with 4:40 to play in the first quarter.
Nezerwa, a fellow senior, got on a roll late in the period, scoring Iowa State’s final six points. Her jumper with two seconds remaining in the quarter pushed the Cyclones in front 19-14 after 10 minutes of play.
The Iowa State offense went cold in the second stanza, scoring just three points in the quarter against a stingy Baylor defense. Despite going 0-for-10 from the field in the quarter, the Cyclones found themselves down just 28-22 at the intermission after holding the Lady Bears to just 34.4 percent shooting in the half. Nezerwa led the way with eight first-half points, followed by seven from both Thurmon and Joens.
The Cyclones came out firing on all cylinders in the second half. An early 8-0 ISU run, sparked by back-to-back triples from Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw and Adriana Camber, tied the game at 30-30 with 6:34 to play in the third quarter. Another Espenmiller-McGraw 3-pointer gave Iowa State its first lead of the half before back-to-back buckets from Queen Egbo put Baylor in front 38-35 with 10 minutes to play.
Iowa State caught fire from deep in the final quarter, knocking down 5-of-9 from beyond the 3-point line in the fourth. Rae Johnson was the spark that pushed the Cyclones in front, scoring 11 of ISU’s 13 points over a six-minute stretch. Johnson’s final triple gave Iowa State a 51-48 lead with 2:48 remaining.
The see-saw affair continued, as Baylor scored on consecutive possessions to re-take the lead before Nezerwa answered with a 3-pointer that gave Iowa State a 54-52 lead, and sent Hilton Coliseum into a frenzy with 1:10 to play. Following a BU free throw and Joens layup, Baylor would hit a game-tying 3-pointer with just 23 seconds remaining.
Joens was then fouled in the act of shooting with one second remaining on an inbounds play, and knocked down a free throw at the charity stripe to secure the 57-56 victory.
Players of Note
Ines Nezerwa scored 11 points on a tidy 4-of-5 shooting, to go with eight rebounds, a block and a steal before fouling out. Nezerwa’s go-ahead 3-pointer with 70 seconds left in the game was among the biggest moments in a game full of momentum swings.
Ashley Joens tallied 15 points and eight boards on the day while playing all 40 minutes. Joens knocked down the game-winning free throw with less than one second left on the clock.
Iowa State will be the No. 4 seed at the 2020 Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship. The Cyclones will face No. 5-seeded Kansas State on Friday at 11 a.m. at Municipal Arena in Kansas City, Missouri.