IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa did more than prove it had reached the same level as Iowa State on Thursday night.
The Hawkeyes outclassed the rival Cyclones in every way possible, showing why they're considered a contender to win the Big Ten and make some noise come March.
Morgan Johnson had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Kelly Krei added 15 points and 19th-ranked Iowa routed Iowa State (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP) 62-40 in their first meeting as ranked opponents.
Kachine Alexander added 13 points and five assists for the Hawkeyes (9-1), who beat the Cyclones for just the second time in six games.
Iowa's early 14-point lead dwindled to three late in the first half. But the Hawkeyes opened the second half with a 19-6 run and turned what was expected to be a close game into a rout.
Iowa State (6-2) shot 32.6 percent from the floor, committed 18 turnovers with just three assists and was outrebounded 40-27 by the Hawkeyes.
"When you think that we held them to four field goals in the second half and three assists for the game, those are some pretty impressive numbers," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "I think their intensity was really very, very good for 40 minutes. Maybe one of the best defensive efforts I've seen."
Iowa State was fortunate to be down just 26-21 at the break -- but it soon became apparent that the Cyclones' luck wouldn't last much longer.
Iowa State called a 30-second timeout after Alexander's layup pushed Iowa's lead to 35-25 with 14 minutes left. But Jessica Schroll promptly turned the ball over, and Jaime Printy raced down the court for an easy layup.
Iowa kept building its lead against the cold-shooting Cyclones from there, and Kelsey Cermak's layup with 9:47 left gave the Hawkeyes a 45-27 cushion.
Lauren Mansfield had 16 points to lead the Cyclones, who have lost two of three after a 5-0 start.
"They're going to be a tough out all year and they're going to be a tough out in the NCAA tournament," Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said about Iowa. "We're not going to be the last team that gets our butts kicked in this building, I promise you that."
Iowa State looked confused on offense early on, as the Cyclones committed a pair of shot-clock violations in the first 5 minutes and let Iowa go ahead 14-6. Alexander then cut between two defenders for a scoop in the paint, and Krei's 3-pointer from the corner made it 22-8 Iowa with 7:07 left in the first half.
That seemed to wake up the Cyclones, who quickly reeled off seven straight points to keep things from getting out of hand.
Iowa State trailed by just five at halftime despite hitting only one 3 and committing eight turnovers in the first 20 minutes. But the Cyclones made only one field goal in the opening 13:26 and went just 4 of 18 from the floor after the break.
"The defensive effort was very, very good," Bluder said. "I'm proud of the boxing out, the crashing that we did. I thought we took care of the boards."
With the Iowa State and Iowa men's programs both in their first seasons of rebuilding efforts, these are the Cyclones and Hawkeyes to watch in 2010-11.
Iowa State made it to the NCAA tournament's regional semifinals each of the past two seasons and entered Thursday night's game with just one blemish; a 64-53 loss to No. 9 West Virginia in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Though the Cyclones lost do-everything point guard Alison Lacey, Kelsey Bolte has become the go-to player on offense with 17.3 points per game through the first seven.
Bolte had a rough game against Iowa, though, scoring just eight points on 3-of-9 shooting as Alexander blanketed the Cyclones star all night.
"They had a good defensive game plan," Bolte said. "They really shut us down. They really guarded me well."
The Hawkeyes, who are seeking their fourth straight trip to the NCAA tournament, won their first seven games before losing at No. 12 North Carolina 79-67 a week ago. Iowa, sixth-ranked Ohio State and No. 15 Michigan State figure to be the top contenders for the Big Ten title.
The Hawkeyes certainly looked legitimate against the Cyclones, handing them their second straight blowout loss in Iowa City.
Iowa pounded Iowa State at home 66-46 two years ago.
"When you get exposed -- West Virginia exposed us some, Iowa exposed us some -- we've got to be ready for that," Fennelly said. "Tonight we didn't show that, and we've got to figure it out."