The Cyclones could never come back from the early run by West Virginia, falling behind by as much as 15 points mid-way through the first half in an eventual 73-59 loss Wednesday at Hilton Coliseum, their second consecutive defeat.
Iowa State (14-2, 3-2) leaned on captain Hallie Christofferson to score the teams' first nine points of the game. By the time the team found its collective shooting stroke, the deficit was at 10 points.
"Hallie didn't get much help tonight," Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. "We guarded the wrong people at the wrong time, went to double team when we weren't supposed to double team. Switching some screens when we weren't supposed to switch.
"We've had two teams now that have punched us in the mouth, and we kind of ran away from it. Offensively shooting the ball we have some kids that are really struggling right now."
The 15-point deficit early in the game was the biggest deficit the Cyclones had faced all season and the 23 points at halftime was the lowest first half total of the season.
In the second half, both teams caught fire early but it was West Virginia's three-point shooting that proved to be the difference maker. Iowa State entered the game as the Big 12's distance leader, but the Mountaineers were the ones with the hot hand, hitting seven in the first half and five in the second.
Meanwhile, Iowa State took a page out of the men's three-point shooting woes from Monday night and went 2-for-20 from long range.
"We'd shot better today from the perimeter than we had the last 3-4 games," West Virginia head coach Mike Carey said.
Said ISU freshman Jadda Buckley: "We are getting open shots, but can't seem to knock them down."
West Virginia (14-2, 4-1) moves to second place in the Big 12.
"They are good," Fennelly said. "They are a team that will be a tough out in the tournament at the end of the year. They are long, athletic, have interchangeable parts, and a lot of seniors. If they make shots like they did tonight, they are going to be really hard to beat. When you have that kind of depth, length and athleticism you are going to be a really good team and they are."