Ashley Joens set an Iowa State record on Monday night with a 33-point performance in her team’s NCAA Tournament game.
Although, Madison Wise, who scored 13 points of her own, might have been just as critical.
In reality, though, both were instrumental in the Cyclones’ 79-75 first-round win over No. 10 Michigan State. Iowa State advances to take on No. 2 seed Texas A&M in the round of 32 on Wednesday at a time to be determined.
“Anytime you can play in the NCAA Tournament, it’s a great honor,” Joens said. “Just with all the teams that are here and when you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen (or) what games you’re going to be able to play. (It’s) just (great) to be at this point and get the opportunity to play.”
Joens’ performance included a 45 percent mark from the field on 22 shots with nine rebounds.
Her mark of 33 points topped former Cyclone Bridget Carleton’s postseason record for the school, which had been 31.
“It means we’ve been blessed to have two really good players that got to play in the NCAA Tournament,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “They’re both kids that carry teams and I think that’s what you see in this event too is the great players play on the greatest stage and play that way.”
Fennelly thought that Joens could have made it to 40, too, had it not been for foul trouble.
He sat Joens for about five minutes in the first half after she had gotten to two fouls and again in the third when she had reached three.
The coach, learning the droughts his team had been on when she wasn’t in the game at times earlier in the year, put Joens back in before the half and third quarter breaks, switching to a zone defense to adjust when Joens was in.
“We did learn you’ve got to get her back in the game in the first half, so we went to a zone to protect her,” Fennelly said. “We didn’t guard great, but we kept her in the game. Her third foul, she tried to make a great play and it didn’t work. But (we) took her out, let her sit for a few minutes. In the end, it worked out and the other kids kept us around.”
One of the other kids, in Wise, made five of her seven shot attempts while playing 36 minutes of basketball.
Both of those marks, as well as her 13 points, were season highs for the senior.
“I thought Madi Wise might have played the best game she’s ever played at Iowa State,” Fennelly said.
It was that simple. Wise was a major part in a six-point lead at the end of the first half.
Iowa State also got a lot of big minutes from Kristin Scott, who played 24 on Monday night despite battling a lingering injury.
Fennelly revealed that Scott isn’t even practicing right now.
“She’s not practicing at all,” Fennelly said. “Her shins are killing her and we tried to limit her to 20 or 25 minutes and she went 24 and I asked her with five minutes to go, ‘what do you want to do?’ She said, ‘Coach I’m not coming out,’ and that’s a senior trying to gut it out to the finish.”
Who knows what’s going to happen after that, but she can celebrate what she did tonight because I thought she played really well tonight.”
That’s all Fennelly will have his team do on Monday.