The Iowa State women (14-6, 5-4 Big 12) were so close to avoiding heartbreak for the second time this week.
They needed one rebound, just one.
Oklahoma State (13-7, 3-6 Big 12) had the basketball under the hoop with three seconds left on the clock and Iowa State leading 62-61.
LaShawn Jones took a jumper off the inbounds pass. It fell off the rim. The Cyclones had a chance at their one, last crucial rebound. They didn’t get it.
The ball flew out of bounds and was touched last by ISU. The Cowgirls had another chance.
They didn’t miss the second time around. Junior guard Brittney Martin knocked through a jumper with one second left to make the score 63-62.
Iowa State didn’t get up a last shot. Heartbreak strikes again.
“We needed one more rebound to win the game,” Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said. “And we couldn’t get it.”
The Cyclones struggled on the glass all night long and were outrebounded 41-27.
Sixteen of the Cowgirls’ rebounds were offensive. The Cyclones only came up with two offensive rebounds. OSU outscored Iowa State 18-5 in second chance points.
“They just annihilated us on the backboard,” Fennelly said. “That was something that we talked about before the game. When you get outrebounded the way we got outrebounded, you’re not going to win.”
The Cyclones turned the ball over 20 times in their loss to Kansas earlier this week, but they rebounded the ball well.
On Sunday, the Cyclones turned the ball over just nine times. They shot a higher percentage from the field, 49 percent to 39.7 percent for the Cowgirls.
They just couldn’t get that last rebound.
“We’re a team that needs to do a lot of things well,” Fennelly said. “Tonight we didn’t turn the ball over, the other night we did. The other night we rebounded, tonight we didn’t.”
There were some things that went right for the Cyclones, though.
Freshman center Bryanna Fernstrom scored 23 points, including the team’s first 13 and 19 in the first half.
It was Fernstrom’s best game since she scored 25 points in her collegiate debut against USC-Upstate.
“I think my teammates were finding me when I was open,” Fernstrom said. “I was finishing around the basket, which has been a struggle for me lately. Once I made the first few shots I became more confident and believed that all my shots were going to go in.”
Fernstrom kept the Cyclones in the game in the first half and within striking distance to make a move in the second.
“If Bry doesn’t show up we’re down 25 at halftime,” Fennelly said. “I don’t know if they thought the game was at 7 o’clock or what, but Bry was the only player that played in the first half.”
Fernstrom scored just four points in the second after the Cowgirls brought more pressure to her and got the ball out of her hands in the post.
The second half for the Cyclones belonged to Nikki Moody who scored 12 of her 17 points after halftime. She also dished out a team-high eight assists in the loss.
In his press conference on Monday, Fennelly called this week one of Iowa State’s biggest weeks of the season. They lost both of their games.
What comes next? A trip to Norman to take on the No. 24 Oklahoma Sooners on Wednesday. There’s no time for heartbreak in the Big 12.
“We just have to come together as a team,” junior forward Seanna Johnson, who finished with 10 points, said. “Believe in ourselves, believe in our coaches and be ready for the game plan.”