Iowa State came into its regular-season opener against the Southern Jaguars with its starting center Kristin Scott dealing with a back injury. Scott was able to play on Wednesday, but she wasn't 100% healthy, so senior center Ines Nazerwa earned the start at center, her first in her career.
Despite not having Scott at full health, the Cyclones' post defenders and their perimeter defenders dominated against the Jaguars, holding the Jaguars to 21 percent shooting from the floor. Iowa State also blocked 11 shots and just two points in the paint en route to a 69-36 victory.
“We’ve been working on defense a lot, ball pressure, guarding the ball, on and off the ball defense and it showed,” said junior point guard Rae Johnson.
The Cyclones controlled the paint against the Jaguars. The Cyclones outrebounded the Jaguars 48-33.
Iowa State also blocked 11 shots on Thursday.
“We were bigger and longer than them at almost every spot and I thought Ines [Nazerwa] and Kristin [Scott] did a really good job of keeping the ball in front of them when[Southern] got to the rim,” said Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly. “I thought our guards were in the right spot at the right time.”
Senior guard Adriana Camber grabbed nine rebounds, seven of those coming in the first half.
Despite playing less than 15 minutes, Scott went three for six shooting from the field, she grabbed six rebounds and blocked four shots, which ties her career-high.
“Initially, she looked like a player that hadn’t practiced in two and a half weeks,” Fennelly said. “She only got 15 minutes and she scored eight points, grabbed four rebounds and blocked four shots. That kid changes our team; she’s the best player on our team.”
Sophomore forward Ashley Joens set a new career-high in steals with three.
Southern’s offense struggled in the first quarter, only scoring eight points while shooting 2-19 from the floor, 1-9 from beyond the three-point line and 3-4 from the free-throw line.
Iowa State’s defense continued to put on a clinic defensively as Southern was held to single digits in the second quarter.
The Jaguars scored nine points in the second quarter and trailed the Cyclones 37-17 at halftime.
In the first half, Iowa State’s defense held Southern to 6-35 shooting from the floor and two for 14 from beyond the three-point line. No Southern player had more than six points at halftime.
Southern’s offense had a better time scoring against Iowa State’s defense in the third quarter, scoring 14 points in the quarter, but Iowa State still held a 23-point lead.
Iowa State’s strong defensive showing continued into the fourth, only allowing Southern to score five points on 2-16 shooting from the field and 1-6 shooting from beyond the three-point line.
The Cyclones outscored the Jaguars 15-5 in the fourth quarter, ending the game on a 14-2 scoring run to beat the Jaguars 69-36.
On Sunday, Iowa State will face in-state foe Drake at 2 p.m. at the Knapp Center.