Iowa State women's basketball CyHawk celebration

Iowa State women's basketball players celebrate after beating No. 12 Iowa 77-70 on Dec. 8.

The heavily anticipated CyHawk women's basketball matchup between No. 12 Iowa and No. 15 Iowa State ended in the Cyclones snapping a five-year losing streak with a win over the Hawkeyes on Wednesday.

The excitement level was high in Hilton Coliseum, and the Cyclone fans went home happy as their team took home a very important win with just two non-conference games to play.

Bright lights

In what was widely considered one of the best crowds at an Iowa State women's basketball game over the last few years, the pressure was certainly on the Cyclones to come through for the fans.

Head Coach Bill Fennelly was extremely impressed with the turnout he saw, delivering a message that he has been spreading all season.

"I told our kids before the game that the environment in this game will be better than any college game in the country, men or women and it lived up to that," Fennelly said.

The players themselves were very pleased with the backing from the fans, including Lexi Donarski, who mentioned that it was the best atmosphere that she has experienced in Hilton Coliseum during her Iowa State career.

Even Iowa star Caitlin Clark had only good things to say about the opposing crowd, mentioning that it has a big impact on the future for both of these schools.

"I'm glad all these fans came out and watched two really great teams. It's great for women's basketball and it's great for the state of Iowa," Clark said.

Caitlin Clark CyHawk 2021

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark drives toward the basket in the Iowa Corn CyHawk Series on Dec. 8 in Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State beat Iowa 77-70. Clark had 26 points.

Stars collide

Ashley Joens of Iowa State and Iowa's Caitlin Clark are two of college basketball's top players.

And they did not disappoint Wednesday.

Joens missed her first seven shots of the game but turned it around and put in another strong performance. She put up 26 points, 11 rebounds and matched her career-high with six assists in the game.

Lexi Donarski did a solid job defensively when matched up on Clark, but she still managed to put on a show. Clark matched the 26 points of Joens, making some unbelievable shots throughout.

Fennelly had nothing but good things to say about the matchup, saying that a lot of eyes from all over the nation were on these two players.

"[Clark] had to work hard to get her shots and some of the shots she hit you just gotta [be] like, 'Damn, that's pretty good,'" Fennelly said.

Ashley Joens CyHawk Iowa 2021

Iowa State senior Ashley Joens gets ready to inbound the ball during the Cyclones' 77-70 win over No. 12 Iowa on Dec. 8.

Free throw dominance

Fennelly has frequently discussed the importance of free throws, previously stating that it is the one place that no one can defend.

This area of the game proved to be the difference-maker Wednesday as Iowa State attempted 22 free throws to just six from Iowa.

Coming off of a game in which Iowa State attempted 18 more free throws than Longwood, it is clear that getting to the line and sinking the shots is a focus of Iowa State.

Obviously, the Cyclones will not be able to dominate the free throw attempts every game, but even a slight advantage could boost the team to some more wins.

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