Everything that Iowa State had going for itself in the first three quarters in Iowa City disappeared in a matter of minutes when the fourth quarter came around.
The Cyclones, who led 73-56 after three quarters, seemingly ran into a wall.
Scoring just seven points in the final 10 minutes and Iowa State saw its lead crumble. They left Iowa City without a win, falling 82-80 in heartbreaking fashion.
“We didn’t make any shots,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said.
It was pretty simple to break down.
Iowa State was 2-10 from the field in the last frame with just one of its eight 3-pointers connecting over that time.
“Yeah, it (doesn’t feel) good,” Iowa State junior Ashley Joens said after her 35-point night in Iowa City. “We didn’t come ready to play in that fourth quarter. We kind of let up. They recognized it and took advantage, for sure. We weren’t playing the same way we were in the first three quarters.”
Iowa trailed by 17 going into the final quarter and used three deep, 3-pointers by Caitlin Clark to close the gap on the Cyclones.
With 19.2 seconds to play, she hit her final one of the game – to put Iowa up by two points.
“Certainly, Caitlin Clark had to put them on her back and made some really tough shots,” Fennelly said. “You’ve got to give Iowa a lot of credit. They made a lot of tough shots down the stretch.”
Clark finished the game with 34 points on an 11-23 shooting night.
Iowa State had the opportunity to take the last shot on the other side of the court, but failed to get one up before Iowa tipped the ball out of bounds with 3.3 seconds to play.
Rae Johnson inbounded the ball to Emily Ryan, a freshman that was looking to get the ball to Joens.
Ryan, however, ran out of time. Joens collected the pass as time expired.
“(The last play was) a back cut,” Joens said. “They guarded it pretty well. It just didn’t go the way we wanted it to.”
The loss is Iowa State’s 8th-straight defeat at Carver Hawkeye Arena, and drops the Cyclones to 2-3 on the season thus far.
It just didn’t go their way Fennelly said after the loss.
“What I told them was, ‘We have to decide what kind of team we want to be,” Fennelly said. “Little things make the difference in all games. Missing a layup, missing a free throw, or missing an assignment. It’s a learning thing for our team.”
Iowa State will return to the court on Saturday when they take on North Dakota State at Hilton Coliseum. The game is scheduled to tip off at noon and will be televised on ESPN+.