Jan 18, 2017; Waco, TX, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Bridget Carleton (21) is guarded by Baylor Bears guard Alexis Prince (12) during the second half at Ferrell Center. Baylor won 68-42. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports
AMES — “Ironically, the last game at Hilton was kind of the same. You guys can probably write the same story, just fill in some different numbers,” said Head Coach Bill Fennelly, who watched another late-game comeback effort by the Cyclones fall short on Saturday night, as Iowa State (12-15, 6-10) fell 72-59 to the No. 6 Texas Longhorns (23-5, 14-3) on Senior Night in Hilton Coliseum.
Trying to get her senior teammates a win, Bridget Carleton was all over the place, dropping in a game-high 23 points in a full 40 minutes of action.
“Part of her was a little more jacked up because of Claire and (Emily Durr) being her roommates and best friends, so she wanted to play even harder for them,” said Fennelly.
After being down by as many as 15, Iowa State rallied back late in the third quarter after Claire Ricketts scored her first points of the contest. With 1:06 left in the period, Carleton drilled a three that woke up the crowd. The Cyclones held the Longhorns scoreless for the final three minutes of the quarter and finished it off with an Adriana Camber layup at the buzzer after the cross-court pass from Carleton.
Overmatched and unable to hit the three-ball, the Cyclones battled till the final whistle, outscoring the Longhorns in the second half. For the most part, they had a smile on their faces while doing so.
“This team I’ve had as much fun coaching as I’ve had in a long time. This team reminded me a lot of our first teams. They just got it, about what it meant to be a player here,” Fennelly said.
As a team, ISU shot 4 for 19 from deep, and it’s pretty darn impressive that this team has been able to consistently be in games that come down to the final minutes. Carleton, like the entire roster, was unable to hit from downtown, going 1 for 9 on the evening.
All things considered, that bodes well for next season, when Alexa Middleton, Ashley Joens, Maddie Frederick, and Morgan Kane will all enter onto the scene, providing a scoring presence that should lead to a more dynamic offense in the 2018-2019 season.
“This place is in a really good spot. That sounds crazy when you’re 12-16, but I really believe that moving forward the program is exactly where it needs to be to continue to improve and get better,” said Fennelly.
Durr relayed a similar message.
“[The] freshmen players got a lot of experience. You throw in Bridget, who’s so steady, so confident, and I think that’s a recipe for success,” said Durr. “I’ll definitely be watching every game back in New York.”