Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State women's basketball ready for Baylor's best shot

Cyclones host Bears 2 weeks after pulling upset in Waco

Iowa State guard Ashley Joens, center, pulls down a rebound between Baylor forward NaLyssa Smith, left, and guard DiDi R
Iowa State guard Ashley Joens, center, pulls down a rebound between Baylor forward NaLyssa Smith, left, and guard DiDi Richards, right, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Waco, Texas. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune-Herald via AP)

AMES — The Iowa State women’s basketball team has won two straight over the perennial powerhouse Baylor Bears.

The Cyclones ended last season with a win over No. 2 Baylor and beat then-No.6 Baylor in Waco, Texas, 75-71 on Jan. 16, ending Baylor’s 61-game home winning streak.

On Sunday, Iowa State (11-5, 7-2 Big 12) hosts No. 9 Baylor (11-2, 6-1) at 3 p.m. (ESPN2) and the Cyclones feel like they have a target on their back.

“They’re definitely going to come out ready to play,” Iowa State star Ashley Joens said. “They’re going to compete and just like any other game with them, you have to compete right with them. We just have to battle.”

Since Iowa State beat Baylor two weeks ago, the Bears have gone on a tear, winning three straight games with an average margin of victory of 25 points.

“It’ll be different,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “I think (Baylor coach) Kim (Mulkey) will be excited to play this one. They’re playing at a very high level and I think they have all of their players back.”

When Iowa State played Baylor last time, the Bears were just coming back from their shutdown due to COVID-19 problems.

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While the Bears might have been short a few players, they still had all of their starters and their key bench players. They just hadn’t practiced in a while.

Now, they have their legs under them.

“I don’t think we’re sneaking up on Baylor anymore,” Fennelly said. “I’m sure they’re tired of hearing that we beat them twice in a row. There is no doubt that we’re going to get Baylor’s best. We usually do. That’s the way Kim runs her program. That’s why they’re so good. They show up every night and play hard and make the game hard. I’m sure that’ll be the case Sunday.”

But because of Iowa State’s mini two-game winning streak over Baylor, the Cyclones are buoyed with confidence — something they normally don’t have when they’re getting ready to play Baylor.

“It’s a game that our kids enjoy now,” Fennelly said. “This group enjoys playing that game where as in the past, we’ve had a lot of teams that have dreaded that game. We’re going to have to play really, really well and it should be fun to get on TV again and represent Iowa State and hopefully give the folks a great Big 12 game.”

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