Saturday's game inside Hilton Coliseum was reminiscent of last season, where Iowa State upset then-No. 3 Baylor.
This time, what started out giving fans the feeling of another potential upset faded away quickly, with No. 4 Baylor (19-1 overall, 16-1 Big 12) quickly proving they deserve a spot atop the nations best.
After beating No. 6 Texas by 13 last Sunday, Baylor defeated Iowa State (11-7 overall, 3-4 Big 12) 77-61 on Saturday in Ames, Iowa, giving them a six-game win streak.
"That's a great team there's no way around it," said ISU coach Bill Fennelly. "There are a lot of things that they can do that other people can't. I thought our kids tried, but sometimes you compete and the other guy is better. And they were better in basically every phase in the game. That's why they're fourth-rated in the country."
Things weren't easy for the Lady Bears all afternoon, however. Iowa State came out firing in the first quarter, shooting 50 percent early on to stay in the game. However, Baylor went on a quick 7-0 run to end the quarter with a 16-14 lead.
The Lady Bears were able to establish more of an offense in the second quarter, shooting 50 percent from the field and holding the Cyclones to just 12 points and zero three-point shots.
"If you hit those shots, then you can come in here and win a ballgame. If you can't hit them, it's going to be a long night," said Baylor coach Kim Mulkey. "You have to be able to nail some shots if you want to be a good basketball team. Everybody knows we're pretty big inside. Nobody is going to just hand us a layup. You have to be able to do both, and I think we did."
The second half proved easy sailing for the Lady Bears, who came out and quickly extended their lead. With just five minutes left in the game, Baylor had extended their lead to 23 points, and was able to cruise their way to the 16-point win.
Khadijiah Cave led the Lady Bears with 18 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, dominating inside and giving Baylor a 20 point scoring advantage inside the paint.
And while Baylor had a significant height advantage over Iowa State, Cave said she had to count on her teammates to keep the offense moving, leading her to a big day inside.
"Coming in, we knew that we could dominate in the post," Cave said. "I just tried to come in and dominate as much as I could in the post. When they came and trapped, I just tried to find the open guard and I was hitting shots."
Her coach turned and replied immediately.
"You did good," Mulkey said.
Seanna Johnson led the Cyclones with 22 points and four rebounds, shooting 9-of-13 from the field. Meredith Burkhall finished with 12 points, and was the only other Cyclone in double-digit figures.
Both teams will be back in action on Wednesday night. Iowa State will host Texas Christian and Baylor will host Texas Tech.
And for the Cyclones, who have now lost their third straight game, Johnson said this isn't a time for panic. Instead, they just need to stay the course.
"All of us have to come back more ready, more focused," Johnson said. "We're in the Big 12. At any given moment, any team can lose. Any team can win. I think the next couple games can be really huge because they're all in Hilton [Coliseum]."