After a tough loss against the University of South Carolina, Iowa State women's basketball looked to bounce back against the rival Iowa Hawkeyes on Wednesday.
The Cyclones got off to a very quick start and stayed in control and held up until the fourth quarter. Iowa State eventually fell short against the Hawkeyes as it gave up a 21-3 run in the fourth quarter and lost 82-80 in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series.
The Cyclones have typically been known to be a team with a relatively high percentage from deep. So far this season the Cyclones have been shooting at a much lower percentage from three, ranging from around 18 percent to 30 percent in their first five games this year.
Against the Hawkeyes, the Cyclones got off to a hot start from three, shooting above 40 percent at one point.
Freshman guard Lexi Donarski was not afraid to shoot as she started out 3-3 and led the team in points going into the half as well. Donarski finished the game with 12 points shooting 3-5 from deep by the end of the matchup.
Although the Cyclones started off hot from deep they went downhill fast as they quickly fell from well above 40 percent shooting to 33 percent by the time the game was over. This inconsistency from three proved to be pivotal as the Hawkeyes were able to mount a comeback and go on a 21-3 run in the fourth to tie the game up with a minute left.
The inconsistent shooting from beyond the arc has been a trend this season that cannot be ignored, especially not after this game.
The Cyclones have been able to close out games by getting good looks in the paint and getting to the free-throw line, but this game came down to the poor efficiency from deep for Iowa State.
Another stellar Ashley Joens performance
Ashley Joens has been on a roll this season and although the Cyclones fell short, she put up 35 points and 13 rebounds against the Hawkeyes.
“You just have to be aggressive and attack the basket,” Joens said. “With my teammates knocking down some shots I also got some open looks as well inside and outside.”
Joens has been consistently putting up 30-plus points a game and it’s clear she’s one of the top players in the nation. She matched up very well against Iowa guard Caitlin Clark, as Clark put up 34 and rallied the Hawkeyes to their comeback win.
Joens was very influential in the game, leading the team in points and rebounds, but it was not enough to see the Cyclones walk away with the win. The Cyclones have now fallen to 2-3 on the season and are looking to snap a two-game losing streak in their next game against North Dakota State.
The ending to the game was very frustrating for the Cyclones as Joens recognized that the Hawkeyes got the better of them in the fourth quarter.
“We weren't playing the same way we were in the first three quarters and they recognized it,” Joens said. “We were not knocking down our shots, we had a lot of turnovers and I think all of that played a role in the fourth quarter.”
Fast start for the Cyclones
This season the Cyclones have gotten off to fast starts in games they go on to win. Against TCU and Omaha they got off to a quick lead in the first quarter and never looked back to eventually take those games.
This game against the Hawkeyes saw the same quick start from the Cyclones and it seemed they were going to run away with the game from the opening 10 minutes. The Cyclones held a 14-point lead at halftime and were shooting the ball very well, which helped them build their lead coming back from the break.
Joens believed the Cyclones came in ready to play and that’s what helped them get out to their fast start.
“We battled down low, we knocked down quite a few shots to get started and just locked down on defense," Joens said.
The Cyclones' quick start helped them hold the lead for the whole game up until the final minute where Iowa’s Caitlin Clark took over. Clark hit a clutch crunch time three to put the Hawkeyes up 82-80 and the Cyclones could not respond.
The Cyclones will now look to come back from this win when they face North Dakota State on Saturday afternoon. That game will be at home at Hilton Coliseum and will be available to stream on ESPN+ via Big 12 Now.