Iowa state fell to 18-6 on the season and to 8-4 in the Big 12 with a 76-69 loss to TCU on Wednesday.
Iowa State went into the fourth quarter trailing by three points. With 6:40 remaining in the game, Kristin Scott hit a three-pointer that cut the deficit to one.
From there, however, the Cyclones went ice cold from the floor, scoring only eight points the entire rest of the way. Three of those points came with under ten seconds left, when Bridget Carleton converted an and-one opportunity in a game that had been pretty much decided.
Needless to say, that's a problem if your team is trying to win a tightly contested game. It wasn't as if the Cyclones weren't getting opportunities, either.
With under three minutes to go and a chance to tie the game, freshman Ashley Jones missed a wide-open 3-point attempt. Shortly after, with under a minute left, Bridget Carleton missed two free throws following a TCU flagrant foul, which could've cut a five-point Horned Frog lead to three.
After Kristin Scott missed a three, Carleton managed to get a steal that could've kept Iowa State's hopes alive. Instead, Carleton almost immediately committed a charge, and TCU hit two more free throws shortly after.
For all of these miscues to happen in one game has to be pretty surprising for Iowa State. The Cyclones are normally one of the best shooting teams in the country in terms of percentage, and Carleton usually thrives in late-game situations.
Carleton's 30-point night
Though she had her struggles late in the game, it's tough to blame Carleton too much for Iowa State's loss.
Without their star senior and Wooden Award finalist, the Cyclones wouldn't have even been in a position to win the game.
With 34 points, Carleton accounted for nearly half of the team's scoring, and in the process scored the sixth-most points in a single game in Iowa State's history. She was also efficient from the field, hitting 13-of-23 shots. On top of that, Carleton earned yet another double-double by grabbing 10 rebounds in the game.
While Carleton was again spectacular, she didn't get much help from her teammates in the scoring department. Kristin Scott had another nice game with 15, but the other five players who scored for Iowa State combined for 20 points between them. Nine of those points came from Ashley Joens.
Again, this can probably be chalked as a rough outing, given the fact that Iowa State's scoring outside of Carleton and Scott has been generally reliable, but it's still tough for the Cyclones to see such a good individual performance go by the wayside.
A drastic turnaround
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Wednesday's loss for Iowa State is how drastically different the result was the second time the Cyclones played TCU.
When the Horned Frogs came to Hilton Coliseum one month ago, they were blown out of the water, losing to the Cyclones by 38 points. It wasn't like TCU added an extra piece during that time, either. All five starters for the Horned Frogs on Wednesday played in that January blowout.
So what changed? Well, for one, Iowa State shot about 10 percent worse from the field and about eight percent worse from beyond the arc. On top of that, the Cyclones shot 20 fewer free throws than TCU, hitting a total of six compared to TCU's 22.
However, not much changed on the offensive end for TCU. They shot better on Wednesday, especially from beyond the arc, but overall the Horned Frogs only increased their field goal percentage by about four points from then to tonight.
What's likely the case is that TCU is a good team who just had an off night at Hilton Coliseum. The Horned Frogs are actually only a half a game back of the Cyclones in the Big 12 standings with an 8-5 conference record, so expecting another blowout, especially on the road, was probably misguided.
Iowa State will look to bounce back on Saturday, when the team takes on Oklahoma State at Hilton Coliseum.