Iowa State has been pretty good in home games this season, as they have an 11-5 record in home games this season, however, the toughest home game of the season is its final one, a Sunday matchup with the second-ranked Baylor Lady Bears.
Baylor is the defending national champions, the second-ranked team in the NCAA behind the South Carolina Gamecocks and have won 57 Big 12 conference games in a row. In the last two 20 games between these two teams, the Cyclones have won only two games.
The Cyclones' last win against the Lady Bears came on Feb. 28, 2018 in a 76-71 win. At that time, the Lady Bears were the third-ranked team in the country.
That win helped solidify the 2014-2015 Iowa State team in the NCAA tournament and a win on Sunday could do the same.
Iowa State is 17-11 (9-8 Big 12) and would barely make the NCAA tournament according to ESPN’s Charlie Creme if the tournament began today.
Sophomore Ashley Joens has been Iowa State’s best player all season long, leading the Cyclones in scoring and rebounding with 20.7 points per game and 11 rebounds per game. Her 20.7 points per game average leads the Big 12 and is eighth in the NCAA. Her 11 rebounds per game average is fourth-best in the Big 12 and 13th in the NCAA.
In its first meeting of the season against Baylor on Jan. 28, Iowa State lost 83-62 after being outscored 49-25 in the first half.
Baylor has dominated the Big 12 all season, as all but one of its wins came by double-digits. Its lone single-digit margin victory in Big 12 came against the Texas Tech Lady Raiders 87-79 on Jan. 25.
The Lady Bears offense is one of the most balanced in the country as five different players average double-digit points per game, led by sophomore forward NaLyssa Smith with 14.6 points per game.
As a team, the Lady Bears average 83.3 points per game which leads the Big 12 and is fifth in the NCAA.
On the defensive end of the floor, the Lady Bears have also been dominant as they average 51.4 points allowed per game, which is the best in the Big 12 and third in the NCAA.
While Sunday’s game does not have any Big 12 tournament importance for Baylor, it certainly does for Iowa State.
If Iowa State beats Baylor and Texas loses to Oklahoma State on Sunday, then Iowa State would be a three-seed in the Big 12 tournament. If neither one of those happens, then the Cyclones will be a four or five seed in the Big 12 tournament, depending on what Kansas State does on Sunday.