OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Alexa Middleton scored 24 points, Bridget Carleton and Ashley Joens had double-doubles and No. 19 Iowa State took control down the stretch on Sunday to defeat No. 21 Texas in the Big 12 Conference tournament semifinals.
The second-seeded Cyclones (25-7), winners of five straight, face No. 1 Baylor on Monday night in their first championship game appearance since 2013.
Carleton, the Big 12 Player of the Year, had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Joens added 13 and 12.
Joyner Holmes led third-seeded Texas (23-9) with 19 points and Jatarie White added 10. Sug Sutton had 12points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Danni Williams also had 12 points.
The Longhorns, who never led and trailed by as many as 16 in the second quarter, overcame a 4-point possession by Iowa State midway through the fourth quarter to tie the game at 64-all on a 3-pointer from the left corner by Destiny Littleton with 3:22 to play.
Joens answered with a layup, Carleton followed with a 3-point play and Middleton hit a jumper to give the Cyclones a 71-64 lead with a minute left. Holmes ended the 0 for 4 drought with a basket with 59 seconds to go but Iowa State made four straight free throws until a Williams 3-point play with one second left.
Williams had pulled Texas within one with 5½ to go before Olamide Aborowa blocked a Carleton shot. With Carleton on the floor, Aborowa apparently said something and the official beside her called a technical. Carleton made two free throws and made a layup on the inbound pass.
Iowa State raced to a 24-13 lead after one quarter by making 6 of 9 3-pointers, led by Middleton’s 3 of 3.
The lead was also 11 at the half, 43-32. Iowa State made three more 3-pointers with Middleton up to 4 of 5 and 16 points. After a 6 of 18 first quarter the Longhorns were 9 of 14 in the second with a 10-0 run keeping them in the game. Williams and Sutton combined for UT’s last 14 points.
Texas cut the gap to five entering the fourth quarter by making 8 of 12 shots from the field while Iowa State went 2 of 12 from 3-point range.