OKLAHOMA CITY — Iowa had a plan for slowing down Big 12 Conference Player of the Year Nina Davis in its Sweet 16 game against Baylor.
What the Hawkeyes weren't counting on was an unlikely career performance from one of the members of Davis' unheralded supporting cast.
Led by Sune Agbuke's career-high 23 points, the No. 2-seeded Lady Bears (33-3) ended Iowa's NCAA Tournament run with an 81-66 win on Friday night.
Baylor is going to the Elite Eight for the fifth time in six years, while the third-seeded Hawkeyes (26-8) end their season after having reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1996.
Iowa held Davis to 20 points, but it was Agbuke — who entered the game averaging 5.9 points per game — who provided an unexpected lift. It was enough to overcome a triple-double by Hawkeyes' point guard Samantha Logic, who finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists.
"Playing in one of these games, you know Davis is going to get hers," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "... But you really need to keep track of everybody else, and (Agbuke) really did very, very well today. She hit the 15-foot shot like it was a layup today for her."
Bethany Doolittle led Iowa with 16 points, while Kali Perschel had 12 and Melissa Dixon added 10.
Nothing, however, was enough to overcome Agbuke for the Hawkeyes, who never led.
Baylor now has a chance to reach its first Final Four since 2012 when it plays top-seeded Notre Dame on Sunday.
The Lady Bears can largely thank Agbuke for that. The 6-foot-4 senior topped her previous career best of 16 points against Kansas State last season, and she added 12 points for Baylor.
"I think the greatest feeling you have as a player is getting to come through for your team," Agbuke said.
Niya Johnson also had 10 points and 16 assists for the Lady Bears, but it was Agbuke who outshined her more-heralded teammates.
Many of her shots came on jumpers near the free throw line.
"They were just leaving Sune open, so that's a free throw," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "She doesn't shoot a lot for us because she's not given that opportunity up there. They chose to guard us that way, and Sune will shoot it every time she's left open."
After falling behind by as many 13 points in the first half, Iowa cut Baylor's lead to two late in the half.
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. Kristy Wallace hit the first to put the Lady Bears up 39-34, 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.
The momentum was all the Lady Bears needed in the second half.
"We would have had momentum going in the half, and we've just got to learn to get stops there," Logic said. "Might have been a different game then."
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.
Iowa: Season finished
Baylor: Faces Stanford-Notre Dame winner on Sunday.
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