Iowa State women struggle in loss to No. 6 Baylor

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WACO, Texas (AP) - Hallie Christofferson caught a pass right in front of the basket, turned to avoid a Baylor defender and rose toward the front of the rim with nobody around her.

Iowa State’s leading scorer missed the point-blank shot, illustrating what kind of night it was going to be for the up-and-down Cyclones.

Odyssey Sims scored 18 of her 24 points in the first half and No. 6 Baylor coasted to its ninth straight win, beating cold-shooting Iowa State 89-51 victory Wednesday night.

Freshman Seanna Johnson scored 12 points to lead the Cyclones (17-8, 6-8 Big 12), who haven’t won two straight games since a 14-0 start capped by a 92-43 win over Texas Tech that put them at 3-0 in conference.

“I think it goes back to we just have not shot the ball very well in the games we have lost,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “We’ve got to shoot the ball great. When we’ve lost, we’ve done anything but shoot it great.”

The Lady Bears held another opponent to less than 50 percent shooting. They’ve let just one team get above that mark in the past 279 games. The Cyclones shot 34 percent and were 3 of 25 from 3-point range.

Sims made nine of 13 from the field and six of eight from 3-point range, including one when she pulled up in transition when Baylor coach Kim Mulkey thought her star guard would finish off another fast-break layup.

“I mean, she looked like LeBron out there just stopping and popping,” Mulkey said, drawing an aw-shucks look from the nation’s leading scorer after the game. “You just don’t see girls do that. She catches it on the move. She didn’t dribble. She just … flick of the wrist. I just turned around and said, ‘There’s just not many girls can do that.’”

Sims fell short of her 30-point average because she went to the bench with 8 minutes left and the Lady Bears (23-3, 13-1) leading by 35 on their way to a ninth straight victory and 34th consecutive home conference win.

The 3-pointer that got Mulkey’s attention came during a flurry of three Iowa State turnovers that pushed Baylor’s lead from 26-17 to 33-17 and forced Fennelly to call two timeouts in less than a minute.

Imani Wright scored on a layup after the first miscue, followed by Sims‘ 3-pointer after the second. Sims then stole a pass by Jadda Buckley for a breakaway layup.

The Cyclones finished with 19 turnovers - three off their season high - and the Lady Bears had a 20-0 edge in points off turnovers.

“They don’t let you relax,” Fennelly said. “That was the one thing that we kept saying. You can never relax. There’s not a lot of teams you play that you can say that about.”

It was the first of two meetings between the teams in the final five games of the regular season and the first since Baylor beat Iowa State 75-47 in the Big 12 tournament championship game last season.

Baylor frustrated Christofferson, the No. 2 scorer in the Big 12 behind Sims, with a variety of post defenders. She finished with 10 points but made just two of six from the field, even missing a shot from right in front of the basket after a steal in the backcourt.

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