Natasha Mack Ashley Joens 2021

Oklahoma State senior Natasha Mack blocks Iowa State junior Ashley Joens' layup attempt Jan. 13 at Hilton Coliseum.

Iowa State women’s basketball’s loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday afternoon gave it its sixth loss in conference play, with the Cyclones now sitting at 10-6 in the Big 12 Conference.

The Cowgirls brought down the Cyclones 80-73 in what turned out to be a close game between the two teams after Iowa State had to fight back in the first half of the game, but turnovers proved to be too costly for the Cyclones to come away with a win.

A comeback to keep it close

After falling behind by 20 points late into the second quarter, the Cyclones had to battle back to stay in the game.

Iowa State took advantage of senior forward Natasha Mack sitting on the bench and went on a 13-0 run to close out the second quarter, capped off by a 3-pointer at the buzzer from freshman guard Aubrey Joens, to get within seven at halftime.

Head Coach Bill Fennelly said he has zero concerns with the team’s effort and thought they played really hard.

“Obviously to go from 20 down to actually get ahead in the fourth quarter, I thought our kids competed,” Fennelly said.

Iowa State was able to fight back and stay close with Oklahoma State the rest of the way, even getting up on the Cowgirls at a couple of points during the fourth quarter.

When a team is down 20 points, it can be hard to find the drive to fight back, especially for the freshmen who may not have been in that situation before.

Junior guard Ashley Joens said they just have to go out there and play how they know how to play and the way they practice.

“You just gotta tell them to take a deep breath and relax,” Joens said.

Kristen Scott OK State 2021

Iowa State senior Kristin Scott tries to pass to an open teammate against Oklahoma State on Feb. 20.

Turnover trouble

Iowa State had 22 turnovers in the game Saturday, which Oklahoma State converted to 22 points.

Fennelly said turnovers were the main issue in the game for the Cyclones.

“You can’t win a game turning the ball over 22 times, that’s the game,” Fennelly said. “... We lost the points off turnover battle really bad and that was the difference in the game.”

The Cowgirls had 16 turnovers throughout the game, which the Cyclones only converted to six points.

Fennelly said a number of the turnovers the Cyclones had weren’t forced but that they just made poor decisions with the ball.

“I think at [point] 62, 61, something like that, we come out of a media timeout and turn the ball over three straight times,” Fennelly said. “I thought all three of them were just really bad decisions and we gotta coach that better.”

Fennelly added that they have to get them in better positions to make better decisions and that is part of the growth of the team, but they haven’t turned the ball over like that in a long time.

Joens said the biggest issue that led to the turnovers was that Oklahoma State was double teaming when Iowa State drove the lane.

“We had to take care of the ball, be able to jump stop and then kick it out,” Joens said. “That’s one of the biggest things that hurt us this game was just having to be able to take care of the ball.”

The Cowgirls also tacked on 11 blocks throughout the afternoon, led by Mack, who had six.

Fennelly said a blocked shot is similar to a turnover in the women’s game and that a lot of them led to run outs.

“We told them they were gonna block shots and we talked ad nauseam about pump fake and kick, pump fake and kick,” Fennelly said. “... we drive the ball in the basket, they were gonna collapse, they did, we wanted our kids to jump stop and kick it, we probably felt like we could get it to the rim.”

Balanced scoring for OK State

When Iowa State last played Oklahoma State, the Cyclones weren’t able to contain Mack, who totaled 34 points in that game, however the Cyclones won.

On Saturday afternoon, Iowa State was able to keep Mack a little more in check, holding her to 24 points.

Despite Mack scoring less the second time around, Oklahoma State had three other players, aside from Mack, score in double digits, making it tough for the Cyclones to defend them.

Fennelly said Oklahoma State is a very good team who is playing as well as anyone in Iowa State’s league, aside from Baylor, and the Cowgirls played that way.

“It’s hard enough to guard good teams, but when you’re chasing them down the floor, looking at the back of their jerseys, that’s a recipe for disaster,” Fennelly said. “And certainly that was the case tonight.”

Fennelly said the Cyclones tried to double team but they lost them on the back side and forgot a couple switches at times too.

“[Ja’Mee] Asberry is playing as well as any guard in the league right now, so they’re a very good team,” Fennelly said.

Asberry was second on the team in points Saturday with 21, with Lauren Fields contributing 15 and Taylen Collins putting up 12.

Iowa State will next play West Virginia at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Hilton Coliseum. The game will be available to watch on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

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