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Agbuke’s career game leads No. 2-seed Baylor over Iowa 81-66

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Sune Agbuke had a career-high 23 points and Baylor advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight for the fifth time in six years with an 81-66 win over Iowa on Friday night.

Nina Davis added 20 points and Niya Johnson had 16 assists for the No. 2-seed Lady Bears (33-3), who will face the Stanford-Notre Dame winner on Sunday.

Agbuke finished with 12 rebounds for Baylor, which outrebounded the Hawkeyes 45-35. The 6-foot-4 senior topped her previous career best of 16 points, set last season against Kansas State.

Kristy Wallace hit her first seven shots and finished with 17 points for Baylor.

Samantha Logic had a triple-double to lead third-seeded Iowa (26-8), finishing with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists. The Hawkeyes were making their first Sweet 16 appearance since 1996.

Bethany Doolittle had 16 points for Iowa, which never led, while Kali Peschel added 12 points and Melissa Dixon, 10.

Baylor led by as many as 13 points in the first half before settling for a 42-34 halftime lead.

With Agbuke grabbing eight rebounds in the opening five minutes of the second half, the Lady Bears wasted little time in taking control. The senior entered the game averaging 5.9 points per game, having scored a combined seven points in Baylor’s two opening NCAA tournament wins.

However, she was 9 of 17 from the field on Friday, topping her career best for points with a jumper that put the Lady Bears up 56-40 while even outshining Davis, the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year. The most points Agbuke had scored in a game this season was 12, which happened three times.

After opening the game on an 8-0 run, Baylor appeared in control while going up 36-23 late in the half — its largest lead that came after an inside basket by Davis.

Iowa, however, stormed back with an 11-0 run following a timeout. Logic capped the run with a remarkable spin move and layup in the lane to cut the Lady Bears’ lead to 36-34.

Just when it appeared the Hawkeyes were about to tie the game for the first time since the opening tip, Baylor closed the half with a pair of 3-pointers that crushed Iowa’s hard-fought momentum. Wallace hit the first to put the Lady Bears up 39-34, her second of the game and capping a first half in which the freshman was 5 of 5 from the field.

Then, following a stop on the other end, Alexis Prince hit a 3-pointer from the left wing as the buzzer sounded — sending an energized Baylor off the court in celebration and with a 42-34 halftime lead.

TIP-INS

Iowa: Logic’s triple-double was her second of the season. The 5-foot-9 senior, third in the country with an average of 7.9 assists per game, also had 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a 90-83 win over Dayton on Nov. 22.

Baylor: Agbuke had scored in double figures just once in her last seven games entering Friday. She wasted little time in reaching that mark against Iowa, scoring after one of her five offensive rebounds to open the second half.

UP NEXT

Iowa: Season finished

Baylor: Faces Stanford-Notre Dame winner on Sunday.

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