Cleveland State (0-2) kept it close early with an aggressive, physical man-to-man defense and key 3-pointers. ISU led by just three (22-19) with 8:49 left in the first half, but the Vikings scored their final points of the half on a 3-pointer by Betsy Bowser with 6:50 left to play.
The Cyclones (1-0) scored 22 unanswered points to finish out the half, with 19 coming from Katie Robinette or Anne O'Neil. Robinette, who posted her first ISU double-double, recorded 14 points and 10 rebounds in the first half while O'Neil had 18 points at the break.
Iowa State took a 50-22 lead into the locker room after shooting 47.1 percent from the floor and draining 6-of-11 treys. Cleveland State shot just 23.5 percent in the first stanza.
"We made a few defensive mistakes early and they made some shots," Fennelly said. "It was 22-19 and as I walked off the court, I looked up and it was 50-22. It happened that fast."
The Vikings would not overcome the halftime deficit and ISU built upon its lead while utilizing its bench. Ten Cyclones made it into the scoring column, led by Robinette's career-high 23 points. O'Neil finished with her first-half tally of 18 points, hitting 3-of-4 from behind the arc. Mary Fox and Brittany Wilkins had 11 points each to round out ISU's double-digit scoring.
"Except for Katie, the shot distribution was really even and many of hers were off rebounds," Fennelly said. "We're not relying too much on one person."
Iowa State shot 47.7 percent in the game and outrebounded CSU 57-30. Robinette led the Cyclones on the boards with a career-best 12 rebounds, including seven offensive caroms. The Vikings were held to a chilly 26.2 percent accuracy from the floor and sent the Cyclones to the free-throw line 32 times. Bowser led CSU with 12 points, while Erin Martin added 10.
ISU plays host to Northern Colorado Monday night at 7 p.m. in the second game of back-to-back contests in Hilton Coliseum.