During Iowa State’s win over Kansas State on the road earlier this season, the Wildcats’ Ayoka Lee finished the game with 38 points.
On Wednesday night at Hilton Coliseum, the player of the year candidate was held to 12 in the Cyclones 70-55 win.
“There’s a lot of things that go into it,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “I thought our post players were really good. We (had help-defense) more than we did the last time we played them. We had to get a little bit lucky and she missed a couple that she didn’t miss down there, but I thought (the defense) did a great job.
Despite the size advantage Lee brought, Iowa State’s defense in the post – largely coming from Morgan Kane – limited even the touches that the K-State player would get.
That translated to limiting the points she scored, too.
“It was a huge priority,” Kane said. “She’s a great player and we knew looking back to our last game that she was going to score. We just needed to make sure that she only got one shot and nothing more.”
The plan came to fruition.
Lee ended the night with only two offensive rebounds and Iowa State used a third quarter to pull away to a comfortable victory.
Kane finished with nine points and six boards, Emily Ryan and Lexi Donarski each put up 15 points and Ashley Joens completed a double-double.
Each helped play to the win, but the x-factor of it all might have been Nyamer Diew. The former transfer took off for 10 points on the night and gave some resting time to four of the five starters at different times in the game.
“(Diew) has been really good,” Fennelly said. “When you come into a new team that’s already established – it takes a while (to get adjusted). I think she’s more comfortable and there’s a trust level between her, her teammates and the coaches.”
Fennelly said that Diew played every position from the two-spot to the five during the game.
That kind of production will come up big in the remainder of the season if Iowa State is in a spot to go on a postseason run, and all signs would point to them being capable of such a thing.
The win on Wednesday gives the team a 19-3 record on the season with an 8-2 mark in conference play. It is the second-best start in program history.
“To beat a good team and to sweep a good team – that’s important,” Fennelly said. “I’m really proud of our kids. One more to go on Saturday night and then we start our bye week.”
Being atop the Big 12 Conference is already a good thing, but the final third of the season still stands in the way.
Iowa State will face Oklahoma State on Saturday for its final game before its off-night in league play. After that, the Cyclones will get a week to rest before their seven-game stretch to close out the year.
Big 12 WBB Standings
No. 11 Iowa State (8-2) 70, No. 25 Kansas State (6-4) 55
West Virginia (4-5) 70, TCU (2-7) 62
Kansas (5-4) 65, Oklahoma State (1-9) 56
No. 18 Oklahoma @ No. 9 Baylor – IN PROGRESS