Iowa State certainly wanted to make more shots coming into Tuesday night’s 67-61 win over in-state rival UNI, but the team showed much-needed balance.
For the second game in a row, it was more than just Ashley Joens banging the boards and outscoring the rest of her team. When Joens got into foul trouble early in the first half, her teammates came up big.
Freshman Lexi Donarski left things right where she left off following her 25-point performance against NDSU, scoring 19 for the Cyclones on Tuesday.
Kylie Feuerbach and Aubrey Joens combined to score 22 points on four 3-pointers.
But it was senior Kristin Scott who impressed the most. She played her best game of the season against the Panthers, collecting 11 critical rebounds and adding 18 points.
She did most of it in the second half, too, ending the first 20 minutes of the game with a 2-9 shooting mark in the field.
“I thought Kristin Scott played like an Iowa State senior in the second half,” Fennelly said. “She really took over the game for us and I thought played like exactly what this team needed her to play like.”
If there was a rebound to be had, Scott got it, and a layup in the closing minutes to distance Iowa State from the Panthers followed.
She felt like her old self again.
“Honestly, this was the first game where I really felt like I was myself,” Scott said. “I felt like really proved myself. I felt like myself of last year.”
That’s huge for a Cyclone team that saw its star player have an off night.
“That’s what you want from a senior,” Fennelly said. “On the road in an in-state game. Things aren’t going right… you look to your security blanket. That was Kristin Scott tonight.”
Iowa State was without Joens for the final 13 minutes of the first half after she picked up her second foul.
“Obviously, you feel bad for (Joens),” Fennelly said. “She never got into the flow of the game with those early fouls. She probably should have gotten back into the game in the first half, we just decided not to.”
It was as uncharacteristic of a game that Joens has seen since maybe her freshman year.
She finished shooting 2-10 from the field with just two free throws to bring her scoring total to six points.
“I think at the beginning of this season, I haven’t really been showing what I’m capable of,” Scott said. “With (Joens) being out early, there was a point where I knew I needed to step up in order for our team to be successful tonight.”
And that Scott did. Maybe her only blemish in the second half was a single missed free throw.
“It’s always nice to win in-state games,” Scott said. “This was a big game for both teams, but I think, for us tonight, the key to winning this game was our free throws. We take a lot of pride shooting free throws at practice and everybody stepped up with confidence tonight. I thought that was key to the win.”
“That was a great game,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “I don’t think either team would say it was artistic or fun to watch at times, but that’s what these in-state games are about. I thought our team competed at a level I haven’t seen us compete at in a while.”
Iowa State is back on the floor on Friday night at Hilton Coliseum for yet another big game.
The Cyclones will welcome in Kansas State (5-2, 0-0 Big 12) for their second conference game of the season at 6:00 p.m. the night before the Big 12 Football Championship.
We’ll see if the women can keep a big week going.