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This week in the Big 12: In a battle of ranked teams, Baylor seeks another runaway victory in conference play as Iowa State visits

Plus, Oklahoma State and Kansas State pit their two-game winning streaks against one another, while Texas looks to continue its recovery following an upset loss and a pair of close games.

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NCAA Womens Basketball: Iowa State at Baylor
Although Lauren Cox (right) and Baylor have the distinct advantage tonight, they’ll still have to deal with one of the NCAA’s best in Iowa State guard Bridget Carleton (left).
Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor’s one loss this season came in its closest game of the season, a five-point heartbreaker against Stanford where a huge comeback effort fell short.

The Lady Bears haven’t just rebounded from that defeat, though — in fact, they haven’t won a game by fewer than 11 points ever since. And that tight, 11-point, nail-biter victory came against none other than UConn, then the top-ranked team in the country.

Baylor’s transition into conference play — delayed due to the meeting with UConn — has gone as smoothly as ever. The Lady Bears are 5-0, well on their way to replicating last season’s undefeated effort, or at least the two seasons prior when they suffered just one Big 12 loss in each year.

Four players are averaging double figures in scoring, while the team is lethal both on the glass — leading the nation in rebound margin and defensive rebounds — and in scoring, at fourth in the nation in field goal percentage and eighth in points per game.

Their opponent tonight, Iowa State, is coming back from two straight losses to Texas and West Virginia. Against Oklahoma on Jan. 19, the Cyclones reached the century mark for the first time this season in a decisive 104-78 victory. But Iowa State hasn’t beaten Baylor since 2015, a five-point home win that came a little over a month after a 32-point loss in Waco.

Last season, the Lady Bears won 89-49 in Waco and 79-50 in Ames.

Although the Cyclones have just one ranked win on the season, two of their four losses have come by just two and three points to then-No. 11 Texas and then-No. 16 Iowa, respectively. But despite their relative success against ranked teams this season, even in simply keeping things close, they’ll have the deck heavily stacked against them, having won just once ever in Waco — in 1997.

Elsewhere in the Big 12:

  • Aside from Baylor, the two hottest teams in the Big 12 are Oklahoma State and Kansas State, who both carry two-game winning streaks into their meeting tonight. Both teams beat Texas Tech, while the Cowgirls added a win at Kansas and the Wildcats upset Texas.
  • No. 12 Texas has something of a break as they face Kansas (1-4, Big 12) and Texas Tech (1-5, Big 12) this week following a string of less-than-solid games: a near-upset to Iowa State, the full-on upset at the hands of Kansas State and a six-point squeaker over TCU where the Longhorns had only one truly dominant quarter.
  • Bridget Carleton has established herself as one of the country’s best all-around players. The senior guard now leads Iowa State in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks — the only power-five player to do so.
  • Kansas State’s Christianna Carr was named the Ann Meyers Drysdale Women’s National Freshman of the Week. The guard averaged 13.5 points on 52.9 percent shooting last week, including 19 points in the Wildcats’ Jan. 16 upset win over Texas.
  • The Big 12 Co-Players of the Week are Kansas State senior guard Kayla Goth and Texas Tech junior forward Brittany Brewer. Goth had a team-leading 20 points and 12 assists in the above-mentioned upset of Texas, while Brewer averaged 25 points and 11 rebounds in the Red Raiders’ two games last week.
  • As well as Carr, Iowa State guard Ashley Joens was named Big 12 Co-Freshman of the Week. Joens shot 61.5 percent last week and notched a career-high 25 points against Oklahoma. These are the first Freshman of the Week honors for both Carr and Joens.
  • The John R. Wooden Award Women’s Midseason Top 25, announced Jan. 10, featured three Big 12 players: Baylor senior center Kalani Brown and junior forward Lauren Cox, and Iowa State senior guard Bridget Carleton.

Wednesday’s top Big 12 games

No. 20 Iowa State Cyclones (14-4, 4-2) at No. 2 Baylor Lady Bears (15-1, 5-0)

When: Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 8 p.m. ET

Where: Ferrell Center, Waco, TX

How to watch: FOX Sports Southwest

Notes: Baylor is seeking its 28th straight Big 12 win, while Iowa State’s Bridget Carleton is chasing a streak of her own — her 36th consecutive game with a made three-pointer.

Oklahoma State Cowgirls (12-4, 3-2) at Kansas State Wildcats (12-6, 3-3)

When: Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 8 p.m. ET

Where: Bramlage Coliseum, Manhattan, KS

How to watch: ESPN3

Notes: This should be a low-scoring yet competitive affair, with both teams averaging under 70 points per game. Kansas State has the edge, coming off the Texas upset and having won five of the last seven games against Oklahoma State, who hasn’t won consecutive road games since last season.