AMES — The Iowa State women’s basketball team (4-3) turned the ball over twice in the first 18 seconds and took some time to warm up on Sunday afternoon at Hilton Coliseum against Southern University, but once they got rolling they couldn’t be stopped on the way to a 86-46 win.
The Cyclones’ slow start lasted most of the first quarter as they shot just 27 percent from the floor, turned the ball over six times and led just 15-10 at the quarter break.
“A game that was probably not as aesthetic as it could’ve been, should’ve been. But we won the game, got a lot of kids in,” said Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly. “I thought Seanna (Johnson) was Seanna and Jadda (Buckley) was Jadda and (Meredith Burkhall) had a really good night. We should win. We did win. Time to move on. We’ve got a lot of tough games ahead of us and certainly it starts next Friday night.”
Iowa State dominated the second quarter outscoring the Jaguars 22-13 and shooting 57 percent from the floor.
They were given a boost by freshman center Meredith Burkhall as she scored 12 of her 18 points in the second period after starting the game in place of senior guard Kidd Blaskowsky. It was her second consecutive double-digit scoring output after scoring 11 points against UNI on Wednesday.
“She’s practiced really hard and she went through a little bit of a dip, obviously after the Drake game,” Fennelly said about Burkhall. “She didn’t practice very well. I think like most young players when things don’t go well it’s easy to feel sorry for yourself, which she did, they all do. But I think she found another gear. We just told her, ‘You’re going to play. Do the things that you can do. Give us some points.’ The UNI game gave her a lot of confidence that she can do some stuff.”
Sophomore guard Jadda Buckley added 16 points and shot 8-of-10 from the free throw line while also dishing out five assists. Junior Seanna Johnson also picked up her sixth double-double of the season, and 19th of her career, by scoring 12 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.
Sophomore Emily Durr added nine points and knocked down three 3-pointers while Blaskowsky added 11 points and three makes from behind the arc off the bench for ISU.
It was another balanced night after Fennelly made the decision to go big and move Burkhall into the starting lineup alongside Buckley, Johnson, TeeTee Starks and Bryanna Fernstrom.
“We’ve been practicing a lot of different lineups,” Fennelly said. “Mainly because we don’t know our injury situation. We know at some point we’re going to have to go a little bit bigger. We’re trying to get some offense off the bench. We’re just trying a lot of different stuff.”
The Cyclones dominated the second half outscoring Southern 49-23 and holding the Jaguars to just 25.4 percent shooting from the floor. They also finished with a season-high 26 assists on 28 baskets.
They now turn their attention to the matchup with in-state rival Iowa Friday night at 7 p.m. at Hilton Coliseum.
“This series has been kind of interesting,” Fennelly said. “The home team wins a lot. It’s been a long time. This is the first time, on paper, the visiting team is much better than the home team. We’ve got a lot of work to do to have the chance to play against them. They’re very good. This is one of those games you don’t have to bring out your A-speech to motivate anyone. If you play at Iowa State and you’re playing the University of Iowa, and you’re not ultra ready to go, and ultra ready to prepare to go, you’re in the wrong place, playing for the wrong guy.”