AMES — With five minutes left in the third quarter Saturday night at Hilton Coliseum, it seemed like the Iowa State women’s basketball team was going to get another test in winning ugly.
The Cyclones had a 32-29 lead over the Kansas Jayhawks and had struggled to create any separation against the young team. Then sophomore center Bryanna Fernstrom put in a layup, then a jumper and a free throw.
All of a sudden the Cyclones had an eight-point lead and a little bit of space. It was all the space they needed on their way to a 65-49 win in front of 7,471 fans.
“There’s two things for sure that were good about today,” Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said. “We had a great crowd, I really can’t thank the fans enough for showing up on such a miserable night, and we won the game.”
Iowa State took control of the game with an 11-0 run spanning the end of the first quarter and the start of the second in order to take an eight-point lead early in the second period. The Jayhawks fought right back in order to pull within three points at halftime.
The two teams would trade baskets to start the third before the Cyclones started their run to the finish.
Kansas shot just 28 percent from the field during the second half and Iowa State outscored them 37-24 after halftime.
“Our scouting reports are very detailed and I give full credit to our coaching staff for making sure we know who we’re guarding,” Iowa State senior guard Kidd Blaskowsky said. “We took that and used it to our best ability which really helped us limit the inside shots, along with threes.”
Sophomore point guard Jadda Buckley led a balanced Iowa State attack with 12 points and five assists, while Blaskowsky and freshman Bridget Carleton both added 11 points each.
Junior forward Seanna Johnson continued her dominant season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
It wasn’t the Cyclones’ most explosive night, but hey, a win is a win.
“It was a slow start, Coach wasn’t happy with this,” Blaskowsky said. “But a win’s a win. We’ll learn from it.”
The Cyclones will get a week off in order to learn from their mistakes before they visit Texas Tech next Sunday.
There’s a lot of lessons to be learned in the next week.
“We were disinterested for a lot of the time,” Fennelly said. “It’s nothing against Kansas, that’s not what I’m saying, but we’ve got to be more engaged from start to finish. That’s the kind of team that we need to be. We were not that way tonight, and you could tell that. We were trying everything that we could to get that out of them, but that wasn’t going to happen. We’re fortunate we got through it. Sometimes the best time to teach is after a win, not after a loss.”
*** Iowa State has played some pretty ugly games this season, but Saturday night’s takes the cake. I can’t remember the last game I went to with less rhythm and flow.
Iowa State seemed to be in control of the game all night long, but could never actually gain control on the scoreboard. Kansas is far from the conference’s best, and that has to be concerning for Bill Fennelly and his staff.
This game was really, really weird.
*** The Cyclones are starting to show that they are capable of winning any kind of game. They’ve won high-scoring affairs like their win at Kansas State. They’ve won ugly like their win against Oklahoma State.
Now they’ve won a really weird game against Kansas. This team has so much potential, but it’s almost like they don’t see it all the time.
It would be nice to see them come out and dominate someone from the first minute. I would guess Bill Fennelly agrees.
*** Vanderbilt transfer Heather Bowe is officially in Ames and practicing with the Cyclones. The graduate transfer won’t be eligible until 2016-17, but she will be a huge addition when she can play.
It’s still a long ways down the road, but next year’s Cyclones are shaping up to be really fun. I think this year’s team still has some fun in them, too.