AMES — Sometimes in basketball there are games when the ball just won’t go in the hoop.
The Iowa State women had one of those days through the first eight minutes of Sunday afternoon’s date with Arkansas-Pine Bluff. During that span, the Cyclones shot just 1-for-12 from the field while going 0-of-6 from 3-point range.
The Cyclones (6-2) trailed the Lady Lions (2-6) 10-4 when senior guard Nikki Moody drained a 3-pointer to jumpstart the offense. Iowa State went on and led 35-27 at halftime and eventually picked up the win by a 82-56 final.
“When it comes to basketball, if the ball’s not going in the basket, you’re going to struggle,” said Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly. “And when you’re 1-12, everyone’s miserable.”
The Cyclones were without one of their top players in sophomore guard Jadda Buckley, who sat out due to a foot injury. Her replacement, junior Kidd Blaskowsky, played well in her place by finishing with 17 points including five 3-pointers.
“I think what you expect out of Kidd is she’s always energized. She’s one of the few players on our team that talks a lot, and shows her emotion, and plays the game like I think it should be played,” Fennelly said. “And when she gets her stroke going she can make open shots.”
Blaskowsky was joined in double-figures scoring on the afternoon by junior forward Seanna Johnson, who had 18 points and seven rebounds. Seniors Brynn Williamson and Moody scored 13 and 12 respectively.
“We had good balance,” Fennelly said. “At the end of the day it’s a game we should win and after I think the first ten minutes, we played the way we needed to play. I’m glad to get it over with. Now it’s on to finals, and hopefully we can bow up one more time next Sunday.”
1. Balanced scoring could be key
The Cyclones will have to continue to get balanced scoring like they did Sunday afternoon, especially if Buckley isn’t able to return soon. Iowa State has six or seven players that could go for double-figures anytime they step on the floor, but not all of them have shown they can be as explosive as Buckley has been at times this year. Look for freshmen Emily Durr and Nakiah Bell, as well as, Blaskowsky to be key in picking up the slack left by Buckley’s injury.
2. Kidd can play
Kidd Blaskowsky may be the most fun player to watch on this Iowa State team. She brings so much energy to the floor and can drill the 3-pointer from anywhere. She took advantage of a big opportunity on Sunday and I would expect more of the same from her if she is gets the start again next week against Fairfield.
3. Free throw shooting
One of Coach Fennelly’s goals for his team during each game is to make more free throws than the other team shoots. Sunday was only the second time this season they were able to accomplish that. The Cyclones were 23-30 from the line, while Arkansas-Pine Bluff was just 11-18. The Cyclones did a good job of attacking the basket and getting to the line, and that needs to continue for Iowa State to stay successful. Of course, it always helpful when a team makes their last 12 free throws.
** The Cyclones finished 24-59 (40.7 percent) from the field and were 11-28 (39.3 percent) from behind the 3-point line. This was the sixth time this season the Cyclones have made 10 or more threes.
** Iowa State had assists on 19 of their 24 field goals and finished with a season-high 11 steals.
** Iowa State is 5-0 when four or more players score in double figures.
** Iowa State has now won 82 consecutive regular-season home games against non-conference opponents.
** The Cyclones have now made a 3-pointer in 620 consecutive games.
The Iowa State women will be back in action next Sunday, Dec. 21, when Fairfield comes to Hilton Coliseum for a 1 p.m. tip.