AMES — After getting benched in the second half versus Baylor and not starting on Saturday vs. West Virginia, senior Emily Durr proved herself in a bounce-back performance with 15 points.
That was the only real positive for Iowa State (8-11, 3-5) in a 69-59 home loss to No. 17 West Virginia (16-4, 4-4), a game that never really felt that close.
Almost as if it’s becoming the norm, Bill Fennelly rotated his players at an extremely fast pace, desperately searching for someone who can provide a spark offensively. Durr and Bridget Carleton were the only two Cyclones with over 10 points in the contest, both of whom shot under 50 percent from the floor.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Iowa State was down by as many as 18, but the Cyclones never quit, battling back with excellent defense and cutting the lead down to seven at one point. West Virginia was simply too good however, as the Mountaineers led by senior forward Teana Muldrow and her 27 points in the win.
The game was another example of what happens when Bridget Carleton can’t get going offensively. Finishing with 11 points, Carleton was held to just two points on 1-of-8 shooting until midway through the third quarter. When Iowa State had their late-game comeback, Carleton missed three shots in the final two minutes as the Cyclones were searching for that final push.
“Our philosophy is always take the first available shot we can take,” Fennelly said. “Our post players need to do a much better job of wanting the ball. Right now, our post players want to be guards.”
Iowa State fell to 8-11 after the loss and will travel on the road to play Oklahoma State and Texas in its next two games. The Big 12 will do this young Iowa State team no favors, but Coach Fennelly, who acknowledged the stingy defense by the Mountaineers, knows that his squad will have to scrape and claw to just compete with these teams.
“We’re not a very good shooting team,” said Fennelly. “But we’ve got to offensive rebound better, that’s an effort thing, and we’re just not doing it.”
*** Kristen Scott was “dinged” in the head at halftime and sat out the second half. Fennelly said he has no further information as of now.