GREENSBORO, N.C. — It took seven years and a lot of heartbreaking losses, but after a dominating performance over Iowa, the Baylor Lady Bears are heading to the Final Four.
The No. 1 overall seed Baylor Lady Bears beat No. 2 seed Iowa, 85-53.
A three-point shot from La Vega alum Juicy Landrum helped give Baylor the 7-2 lead. But seven early points from ESPN's National Player of the Year, Megan Gustafson, allowed Iowa to tie the game at 11 midway through the first quarter. Baylor led 15-11 at the 2:35 mark thanks to a couple key buckets by Didi Richards.
Baylor led 21-13 at the end of the first quarter. Lauren Cox and Didi Richards had six points and four boards early on. Gustafson led all scorers with nine.
Baylor started the second quarter on a 7-2 run. But Iowa hit back to back threes to cut into Baylor's lead. The Lady Bears led by 8 midway through the second quarter.
The Lady Bears took a 41-27 lead into the break, with Cox leading the way with 14 points and five rebounds. Gustafson had 12 and 9 at the break.
Baylor came out fast in the second half with a couple of huge plays on defense. Cox, Jackson and NaLyssa Smith all knocked down buckets to help extend Baylor's lead to 20 at the 4:18 mark of the third quarter.
Iowa didn't hit a field goal in the final 7:24 of the third quarter. Baylor led 65-42.
It was more of the same in the final quarter. Baylor went on a 7-0 run over three minutes midway through the fourth, while Iowa did the opposite. The Hawkeyes went on a 3:36 scoring drought and they turned it over four times in that time frame.
The Lady Bears will take on Portland-region champion Oregon at 6 p.m. Central time Friday in Tampa Bay.