Redshirt junior guard Jadda Buckley scored 25 total points at the game against UNI. ISU won 76-68. Credit: Lani Tons
AMES — Any win vs. an in-state rival is a big win. The Iowa State women’s basketball program got one of those on Sunday night via a 75-67, hard fought victory over a Drake team that beat them a year ago.
It was anything but easy though. Entering halftime the Cyclones had not led in the contest.
Whenever it seemed like Iowa State was going to tie the ballgame or pull ahead, the Bulldogs somehow slowed the Cyclones’ momentum. Iowa State stayed within three points after the first 20 minutes as the halftime score read: 34-31.
During the 15 minute intermission, ISU point guard Jadda Buckley realized the Cyclones needed something in the second half.
“We just needed a little life,” Buckley said.
That’s exactly what the Cyclones got in the final two quarters against the Bulldogs. Iowa State claimed its first lead at 5:33 mark in the third quarter at 43-41. The rest of the way was tense.
“In the last four minutes [Jadda] Buckley, a couple staff members said to me the last four minutes, she decided that we weren’t going to lose,” Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said.
At halftime, Buckley was 1-of-8 from the floor for five points. Seanna Johnson was 1-of-6 for four points and Bridget Carleton was 4-of-10 for 11 points. But in the second half, all three players found new life.
“I think if you look at the numbers, our three best players had a tough night shooting the ball,” said Fennelly.
Carleton only made two shots in the second half (6-of-21 for the game) but chipped in three free throws to give Iowa State a total of 19 points. But Buckley and Johnson’s improvements made the difference for the Cyclones.
Johnson, like Carleton, only made two more shots in the second half (3-of-12 for the game) but she got to the charity stripe eight times in the last 20 minutes and converted on seven of the attempts. She finished with 16 points. And for Buckley, she went 4-of-5 (5-of-13 overall) and 3-of-3 from the free throw line for a total 17 points in the last two quarters.
While Iowa State’s big three came up big in the latter part of the game, it was the Cyclones’ role players who truly propelled them to a win.
Buckley, Johnson and Carleton combined for 52 points. And Drake’s big three (Lizzy Wendell, Sammie Bachrodt and Caitlin Ingle) combined for 53 points. Iowa State’s other six players who saw time combined for 23 points while Drake’s had 14.
“Emily Durr’s play might have changed the game,” Fennelly said on Durr’s 11-point outing. “I thought Emily and Nia [Washington] both did a good job.”
The win did however come at a price. During halftime warm ups, ISU’s first player off the bench, Heather Bowe, sprained her ankle. ISU’s trainers tried to wrap it up and see if Bowe could go and she could not. After the game, Fennelly said it doesn’t look good and Bowe will be out for a while.
“I just thought our kids competed as hard as they could against a very, very, very good team,” Fennelly said. “There was no surprise by how good Drake was. I am really proud by the way our players found a way and dug a little deeper in the fourth quarter.”