Women's Basketball

WBB: Cyclones fight, pull away to beat West Virginia

AMES, Iowa – Iowa State didn’t expect to play in a dogfight-style game against West Virginia on Wednesday night at Hilton.

It didn’t look like it would be one after West Virginia coach Dawn Plitzuweit called a timeout 101 seconds into the game, down 6-0. Although, the game had the makings for a fight, despite the 70-50 win for the No. 11 Cyclones.

“We got up 6-0, we’re moving the ball,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “All of the sudden, we just looked completely lost. A lot of it was probably that we started in a zone. We were worried about their dribble penetration. I think it got us on our heals a little bit.”

The Cyclones nearly trailed going into the second quarter and managed just a tie game by the halftime break.

West Virginia earned a five-point lead three minutes into the second quarter and was playing a physical game that bled into some after-the-whistle moments.

“Our kids play the game the right way, I’m not saying other teams don’t, but I’m very proud of how we play, how we act and how we respect the game,” Fennelly said. “That’s the way we’re going to play.”

Part of the reason the Cyclones even had the game tied at the break was because of Lexi Donarski, who became the 33rd player to join the program’s 1,000-point club.

Donarski had a stretch where she had 11 of the Cyclones’ 14 points and vaulted the team back into the game.

Stephanie Soares came away from the game – her second in Big 12 play – with 20 rebounds.

She finished with just a 5-15 line from the field, but the performance is enough to be encouraging.

“Twenty rebounds is 20 rebounds in 25 minutes,” Fennelly said. “I wish you guys could see her at practice. Part of her problem at times is that we’re overcoaching her a bit. What I told her was, ‘you’re like a freshman that came and is taking a graduate level class.’ The kid cares so much about what she’s doing.”

Ashley Joens added 19 points and 11 rebounds, collecting her 55th-career double-double.

The win gives Iowa State a 10-2 mark on the season and pushes them to 2-0 in Big 12 play going into a top 25 matchup on Sunday.

The Cyclones will travel to Oklahoma to take on the No. 17 Sooners (Sunday, 2 p.m. ESPN2) the next time they’re on the floor.