Ashley Joens had a wide-open 3-point opportunity in the closing seconds during Iowa State’s 75-71 win over No. 6 Baylor on Saturday.
She passed it up.
Joens drove the ball inside and threw up a close-range shot that banked off the backboard.
It happened to be the shot that iced the game and gave the Cyclones their second-straight win over Big 12 power Baylor.
“I knew that I could get to the basket,” Joens said. “I shot-faked. She jumped up. I just took it in there and figured I could get it to the basket.”
Iowa State’s upset over the Bears snapped Baylor’s staggering 61-game home court winning streak.
Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly would not comment on what was going through his mind when Joens passed up the shot. He said he couldn’t use those words. A make would have put Iowa State up by five.
“The thing with (Joens) is that she’s a very smart offensive player,” Fennelly said. “I think she felt like her three was not good and she wanted to get in the lane.”
Fennelly said the game plan out of the timeout was for his team to space out the floor and open up a lane. It was there and she took advantage.
“She felt like she had a lane,” Fennelly said. “She made a lot of really good plays down the stretch. You’ve got to give her the decisions that she wants in those situations and tonight she really felt like attacking the rim was her best thing.”
Joens scored 14 of Iowa State’s final 17 points in the game, helping the Cyclones clinch the win.
After Iowa State took an opportunistic 23-12 lead into the first quarter break, Joens was taken out of the game due to the two fouls she had committed in the first frame.
Baylor got back in it by putting together a 14-0 run before Joens finally came back off the bench. It made all the difference.
“Obviously with her not in the game it was not pretty,” Fennelly said. “The reason she went in when she did was because (assistant coach Billy Fennelly) kept screaming at me to put her in the game. He might’ve put her in (without) even asking me.”
Joens was the big game changer, but so were the freshmen in Emily Ryan and Lexi Donarski. The pair combined for 32 points on the night.
“I thought Emily was tough as hell just like she’s been all year,” Fennelly said. “I thought her and (Donarski), talking about freshmen coming into this environment against that team, they were great.”
The result improves Iowa State’s record to 9-4 on the season, including a 5-1 mark in the Big 12 and the lead in the conference standings.
Iowa State is alone at the top.
What’s that mean for the team?
“It means a lot, but we know that we have a lot more work to do,” Joens said. “We know that we have another game coming up on Tuesday so we have to get in the gym and get ready.”
Until then, or at least for tonight, the Cyclones will celebrate their first win in Waco since 1997.
“I think it is one of the greatest wins that we’ve ever had,” Fennelly said.
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