Takeaways: Iowa State dominates Kansas State again

Guard Alexa Middleton drives toward the hoop during the Iowa State vs. Texas Tech women’s basketball game Jan. 29 in Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones defeated the Red Raiders 105-66.

Spencer Suckow

No. 23 Iowa State moved to 17-5 on the season and to 6-3 in Big 12 Conference play with a 81-52 victory over Kansas State in Manhattan.

Season sweep

With the win over Kansas State, Iowa State earned a season sweep of the Wildcats for the first time since the 2014-15 season. In both their meetings this season, the Cyclones completely dominated the Wildcats outscored K-State by a combined 67 points.

While Kansas State isn’t necessarily a top-flight team in the Big 12, the Wildcats are still a solid opponent nonetheless. K-State entered Saturday’s game with a 13-8 record overall and a 4-5 record in the Big 12, good for sixth in the conference.

With that in mind, the fact that both games were as lopsided as they were is probably more of a testament as to how good Iowa State is, rather than how bad the Wildcats are. While K-State generally struggles to score, the Wildcats are one of the better defensive teams in the conference, having only allowed more than 70 points three times in 10 conference games.

After Saturday’s drubbing, however, two of those times now belong to Iowa  State. The Cyclones are one of the top teams in the country in terms of shooting percentage, and that was on full display in both meetings as the Cyclones shot over 45 percent from the field in both games.

For a team that relies on its defense to compensate for a subpar offense, that’s a recipe for disaster for Kansas State.

Balanced scoring once again

One of the Iowa State’s biggest strengths for much of this season has been it’s ability to get scoring from a variety of sources, and that was certainly the case again on Saturday.

Four of the Cyclones’ five starters scored in double figures against the Wildcats, yet no Iowa State player scored more than 20 points. Iowa State was able to evenly distribute its points across the board, never relying too heavily on one player to shoulder the load.

When a team has five starters that can score in double figures any given night, it makes them incredibly hard to prepare for, and teams that have that luxury tend to do pretty well in the postseason.

Bye week, then a big test

Following this win, Iowa State will now wait until next Saturday to play another game, giving the team a chance to catch its breath during the grind that is Big 12 Conference play.

When the Cyclones do return to action, however, they’ll play one of their most important games to date when West Virginia comes to Hilton Coliseum. The Mountaineers beat the Cyclones by a score of 73-64 in Morgantown back on January 16.

Since that game, the Mountaineers have gone 3-1 in their past four games to pull into a tie with the Cyclones for third place in the Big 12. West Virginia’s only loss in that stretch was a loss at Baylor, which is hardly anything to be ashamed about.

It’ll be tough to dethrone Baylor with the way the Bears have played all season, but next Saturday’s game will be crucial for seeding in both the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments. If Iowa State can pull out a victory at home, it’ll be in prime position for a top-three finish in the Big 12.