Iowa State knew it would have to play its best to even have a shot against No. 9 Baylor — which blew out the Cyclones by 38 points two weeks ago.
With star Hallie Christofferson plagued by foul trouble, Iowa State simply didn't have the personnel it place to pull off such an upset.
Freshman Nina Davis scored 26 points to help Baylor clinch a share of the Big 12 title by beating Iowa State 70-54 on Tuesday night.
Nikki Moody led the Cyclones with 17 points. But Christofferson had just 14 in 19 minutes for Iowa State (20-9, 9-9), which was outrebounded 48-32.
The Cyclones will be the fifth seed for the upcoming Big 12 tournament in Oklahoma City and face No. 4 Oklahoma State on Saturday.
The winner of that game gets another crack at top-seeded Baylor.
"That's a great team. We had to gamble defensively to open up the court a little bit. But when you play a team like this, you've got to have people do things above and beyond, and we certainly didn't get that," Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said.
The Lady Bears (26-4, 16-2 Big 12) finished the regular season tied with West Virginia atop the conference but have the top seed in the Big 12 tournament due to a tiebreaker.
Baylor won despite a season-low 11 points from star Odyssey Sims, the nation's leading scorer at 30.2 points per game entering play. But her first basket was a big one, as it put the Lady Bears ahead 59-44 with 4:39 left.
"We tried to do some different things. We wanted to make her a volume shooter," Fennelly said of Iowa State's defense on Sims. "But Nina Davis was a monster."
West Virginia clinched a piece of its first Big 12 title by beating Kansas 67-60 earlier Thursday. But while the Mountaineers were cutting down the nets in Morgantown, the Lady Bears found themselves in a surprising fight with the Cyclones.
Davis helped pull them through.
Davis converted back-to-back 3-point plays and hit a jumper in traffic to put Baylor up 50-38. Sims effectively finished off the Cyclones on a runner with 3:18 left that gave the Bears a 62-47 lead.
Sims finished just 4 of 16 from the floor in 32 minutes, but the Cyclones couldn't take advantage of such a poor performance by Baylor's best player.
"We just needed to step up and make shots when she wasn't," Christofferson said.
It was hard to imagine that Iowa State could hang as close as it did after the first meeting with Baylor back on Feb. 19.
Baylor blew out the Cyclones 89-51 by shooting 54 percent, hitting nine 3s and scoring 20 points off of 19 Iowa State turnovers.
Iowa State bounced back with three straight wins to solidify its hopes for an at-large NCAA tournament bid. But the Cyclones again fell behind big early, and even shutting down Sims wasn't enough.
Sims, whose previous season low was 17 points, went scoreless on 0 of 6 shooting in the first half. Baylor still led by as much as 13 with Christofferson in early foul trouble, though the Cyclones were able to cut it to 31-24 by halftime.
Baylor, led by the ever-improving Davis, managed to hold off Iowa State and win for the 14th time in 15 games.
We knew defensive rebounding and our ability to take care of the ball and hitting big shots was going to give us a chance to be in the game or not," Fennelly said. "I thought in the second half we took care of the ball really well. We just could not rebound the ball at all."