AMES — The sky-high field goal percentage, that’s Brittney Griner.The efficient assist-to-turnover ratio, that’s Odyssey Sims.
Baylor leads the NCAA in both statistical categories largely because of those future WNBA lottery picks, and last night their big-league skills were prominently displayed as the top-ranked Bears beat No. 24 Iowa State, 66-51, before a crowd of 11,220 at Hilton Coliseum.
“They are such a good defensive team,” said ISU Coach Bill Fennelly, whose team endured a 17-0 first-half run spanning 11 and a half minutes. “When you have, obviously, Brittney on the back end, and Odyssey Sims is the best on-ball defender I’ve ever seen. She just changes the game.”
The Cyclones (13-4, 4-3) kept it relatively close, pulling within 12 points, at 43-31, on Chelsea Poppens’ layup with 11:06 left.But the Bears (17-1, 7-0) answered with six straight points — including a 3-point play from Griner.
“They make things chaotic at times,” said ISU post Anna Prins, who scored a team-best 17 points. “Sometimes we were just getting jumbled up.”
Griner struggled, by her standards, making 9 of 20 shots and scoring 22 points.
“Missing easy shots, not finishing strong,” Griner said.
She soared for her NCAA record 11th career dunk, clutched eight rebounds and blocked six shots — before sitting out the final 6:50.
“It energized us at the beginning of the game,” Griner said of the slam.
It did something else to Fennelly.
“Iowa State’s going to be on ESPN tonight because of Brittney Griner dunking on us,” he said. “That’s unacceptable. If we go meet the pass (she stole), that’s a foul on Brittney Griner. ... So, no, I’m not happy.”
Sims had 13 points, four assists and helped force seven turnovers from ISU point guard Nikki Moody in the first 20 minutes.
Poppens grabbed nine rebounds and eclipsed 400 offensive boards in her career.Moody ended up with a game-high five assists to 10 turnovers.
“She had 10 turnovers on the stat sheet,” Fennelly said. “I’d say five of those are hers.”
Fennelly stressed that his post players repeatedly failed to meet passes, but lauded his team’s overall effort in its second loss to Baylor this season.
“I told them we’re 4-1,” Fennelly said of his team’s Big 12 mark sans the Bears. “We’re taking Baylor out of it. And we’ll see.”
Players concurred on the record adjustment.
“We’re focusing on the next game and ending January on a positive note,” said Cyclone guard Brynn Williamson, who ran down nine rebounds and scored all 11 of her points in the second half.
And if another meeting with the dominant Bears is on tap in March, Fennelly’s fine with that.Welcomes it, even.
“I’d love to play them again,” he said. “If you’re playing them again it might be in the semifinals of the conference tournament.”