WACO, Texas — Ashley Joens and Iowa State again put an end to a long winning streak by No. 6 Baylor.
Joens scored 14 of her 27 points in the fourth quarter of a 75-71 win Saturday night that snapped the Lady Bears’ 61-game home court winning streak – just 10 months after the Cyclones ended Baylor’s 58-game Big 12 winning streak.
“Huge win,” Joens said. “Baylor’s a great team. Knowing that we can compete at the highest level with these types of teams, it kind of gives us that confidence going into the rest of the season.”
Baylor (8-2, 3-1 Big 12) played for the first time in two weeks because of a pause in the program after coach Kim Mulkey tested positive for COVID-19. The Lady Bears overcame an early 13-point deficit, but couldn’t avoid another streak-snapping loss to the Cyclones only hours after their first full-team practice since their last game.
“We played very hard to stay in the game and to take leads, but I thought they controlled the game in a lot of ways,” said Mulkey, only cleared Saturday and still without any smell or taste. “I can make a million excuses sitting here. I’ve seen my team two times since Dec. 20 and we haven’t practiced all week. … But you know it’s 2020 and it’s the COVID protocols and everything. You’ve just got to go play.”
Iowa State’s 57-56 win last March 8, when Joens made a free throw with 0.1 seconds left, came only days before the cancellations of the Big 12 tournament and the NCAA Tournament because of the virus.
Lexi Donarski finished with 17 points for the Cyclones (9-4, 5-1), including her tiebreaking 3-pointer with 4:18 left that put them ahead to stay at 68-56 before Joens scored their last seven points. Emily Ryan had 15 points.
“We’ve brought a lot of great teams down here and didn’t even have a chance,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “I told them at halftime, usually my speech at halftime is let’s finish the game and have a little pride. And today we talked at halftime about winning the game.”
Jaden Owens had 15 points for Baylor, which had three games postponed during its pause. NaLyssa Smith had 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Moon Ursin had 12 points and Queen Egbo 11.
The Lady Bears hadn’t lost at home since Feb. 6, 2017 against Texas. Their nation-best home winning streak was the 10th longest in NCAA history, and that had also been their last regular-season conference loss before losing at Iowa State last March.
Baylor’s last game had been a 74-50 win at TCU on Jan. 2, a game Mulkey skipped even though she had tested negative three times after being exposed to COVID-19 on Christmas Day by a family member who tested positive. But she tested positive Jan. 4.
The Lady Bears were still without senior guard DiJonai Carrington and junior forward Caitlin Bickle, two of their primary players off the bench. Both were still out because of COVID-19 protocols.
“I’m sure we caught a break with them being on the pause, and probably they weren’t as ready as they feel they probably could have been,” Fennelly said.
Iowa State had a 15-0 run that took less than four minutes in the first quarter, going ahead 18-6 on a jumper by Joens after Kristen Scott had consecutive 3s. Joens started that spurt with a putback jumper and a three-point play, making the free throw after getting fouled on a fastbreak layup.
“It was a little bit of a shock, but we didn’t panic,” Ursin said.
But Joens got her second personal foul right after that her run-ending basket, and didn’t return until after Baylor had a huge spurt of its own.
Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw’s layup in the opening minute of the second quarter put the Cyclones up 25-12, handing Baylor its largest deficit in more than two full seasons. But Baylor then scored 14 in a row in less than three minutes, going ahead 26-25 after consecutive baskets by Smith – the second a short hook after a nifty bounce pass from DiDi Richards.
Iowa State: The Cyclones were already the only Big 12 team with two wins over Baylor the past six seasons – now they have three.
Baylor: The Lady Bears were playing for only the second time since consecutive 93-point non-conference wins on Dec. 18-19.
Iowa State plays three of its next four games at home, a stretch that begins Tuesday against Oklahoma and ends Jan. 31 when Baylor visits Ames.
Baylor is at Oklahoma State on Wednesday night.