Aubrey Joens had only started two games in her career at Iowa State coming into the 2021-22 season.
After Sunday’s 96-55 win over Southern, she’s collected two-straight games with 18 points or more. She had 21 on Sunday including five 3-pointers in just 24 minutes on the floor.
“She’s playing really hard,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “Really well. The rebounding is probably the most impressive. She just adds another dimension. She’s a really tough kid. If she misses three (shots) in a row and you tell her to keep shooting, she’s going to tell you, ‘I know.'”
The stellar play from the sophomore allowed Iowa State to pull away early in the matchup, and never have to worry about looking back at its opponent.
Four players finished the game in double figures, and Joens added nine rebounds, despite her smaller frame.
“It’s pretty impressive,” Ashley Joens said. “It kind of goes back to when we were kids. She always played against me and (older sister) Courtney, so she wasn’t the biggest.”
Nonetheless, the sophomore is second on the team in rebounding, only behind her older sister.
Nyamer Diew also stood out for the Cyclones on Sunday, scoring in double figures for the first time in her Iowa State career with 14 points.
Denae Fritz did not play due to a leg injury as part of a precautionary move, according to Fennelly.
“Denae is OK,” Fennelly said. “It was a precautionary thing. We’ll evaluate that on a daily basis. She could have played if we felt that we needed her, but we made that decision to hold her out.”
At the post position, however, South Florida transfer Beatriz Jordao made her official debut as a Cyclone.
After the exhibition game, she had sat out of the next three games for the team due to an injury, but returned to the court for the first time on Sunday.
“It’s great to get (Jordao) back,” Fennelly said. “To have four players that can play, that’s a good thing. Now you’re going to play three games in three days against teams that have a much more normal, physical, low-post presence.”
Jordao finished with 4 points and shot 50% at the free throw line, along with collecting three rebounds.
The four players at the position combined for 19 points and 14 rebounds.
“I thought all four of them had good moments today and all four of them had plays that put them on the bench,” Fennelly said. “For us, you’ve just got to hope that one or two of them – every single night, whichever one it is, are doing the things that help us win games.”
No. 14 Iowa State (4-0) will now look ahead to a trio of games in the same number of days as it travels to the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Florida.
There, they will kick things off on Black Friday against Charlotte and could end up facing off with No. 20 UCLA if their paths cross in the right direction.
Adding on a road game against LSU for the team, the next four games for the Cyclones could do a lot for the team.
“I think when we come back from Louisiana, we’ll have a really good idea of how much progress we will have made,” Fennelly said.
The entire bracket for the Gulf Coast Showcase can be seen below.