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Women's Basketball

WBB: Wildcats roll past Cyclones in Hilton

AMES — A lot can change in a few months.

When the Iowa State women’s basketball team left Manhattan, Kan. after an 84-79 win over Kansas State on Dec. 30 they were riding high. It was the Cyclones’ seven consecutive win and they were 1-0 in Big 12 play.

A lot can change in a few months. 

Wednesday night at Hilton Coliseum those same Wildcats rolled into Hilton Coliseum and rolled over the Cyclones in a 68-53 win. It was Iowa State’s eleventh loss in the last 14 games.

“I think K-State’s a really good team,” Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said. “Very impressed with them. I think it’s a team that certainly deserves to be in the NCAA tournament. They’ve really improved.”

The Cyclones were without do-it-all junior guard Seanna Johnson while she’s back in Minnesota with her family after her father suffered a stroke over the weekend. During the first quarter, it didn’t even seem like the Cyclones would miss her.

After falling behind 10-3 in the early minutes the Cyclones used a 14-0 run to gain control and take a 17-10 lead. K-State answered quickly by closing the quarter on a 7-0 run of their own to tie the score at 17 heading into the second period. 

Iowa State scored just six points in the second while shooting just 24.2 percent from the floor for the half. Kansas State dominated the paint on their way to a 38-23 halftime lead.

“It had nothing to do with the outcome of the game,” Fennelly said about Johnson’s absence. “Seanna didn’t miss all those shots. Seanna helps us rebound a little bit. Obviously, she’s a great player that impacts our team dramatically. We’re not a very good team as it is and when you take a first team all-Big 12 player off your team, it’s pretty hard. Certainly, our focus is with her and her family and we wish them all the best, but that had nothing to do with the outcome of the game.”

The second half was more of the same for the Wildcats. Solid defense out of a multitude of zones, timely shot making and domination in the paint by their center, Breanna Lewis.

Lewis didn’t miss a shot in the first half, and sealed a double-double with more than eight minutes left in the third quarter. Her 25 points, 16 rebounds and six blocks were all game-highs. She finished 11-for-13 from the floor.

The Cyclones had no answer for the 6-foot-5-inch junior from Milwaukee.

“She had a huge night tonight,” Kansas State head coach Jeff Mittie said. “I’ve said this the last couple weeks, but I think she’s one of the best kept secrets in the country. As a center she has come leaps and bounds. She continues to grow every day so I’m not surprised when she puts these numbers up. She’s one of the best centers in this league and it’s a league with very good centers. I’m okay with keeping it a secret for a little while longer.”

Iowa State shot just 31.3 percent from the floor during the second (27.7 percent for the game) and 29.7 percent from behind the 3-point line. Kidd Blaskowsky (12 points), Bridget Carleton (11 points) and Emily Durr (10 points in her first career start) all scored in double-figures for the Cyclones.

During the first matchup between the two teams the Cyclones shot better than 49 percent from the floor and knocked down 11 3-pointers.

A lot can change in a few months.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever coached in a game where you have one turnover,” Fennelly said. “With a minute to go if Kidd kicks it like she’s supposed to we don’t have a turnover for the whole game. That means you get a shot every single time down the floor and they’re playing a zone. You’ve got to make a three. It’s been the same thing all year. We can’t make shots. We can analyze that in a million different ways, but this is a team that needs to make open shots and we didn’t tonight. We haven’t all year. We’ve got a lot of 4-for-14, 4-for-11, 3-for-15, 3-for-12. I don’t care who you’re playing, but if you’re not turning the ball over, at least you’re getting a shot.”

Now the Cyclones will hit the road for Norman, Okla. for one last road trip with only two games left in the regular season. Iowa State needs a win Saturday afternoon against the No. 23 Oklahoma Sooners in order to avoid their first sub-.500 regular season since 2002-03.

When the Cyclones left Manhattan two months ago, that sentence would’ve seemed ridiculous, maybe even crazy.

A lot can change in a few months.

“We’ve got a couple kids that just refuse to shoot when they’re open,” Fennelly said. “That makes it bad too. We’re getting nothing in the post, zero. All of a sudden. We don’t have Breanna Lewis on our team, but you’ve got to have something and somebody that wants the ball, besides getting a shot blocked every time. It’s obviously a struggle.”

Jared Stansbury

administrator

Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.