Women's Basketball

WBB: Iowa State finding its rhythm, rolls over KU

AMES, Iowa – Iowa State spent a large portion of its season learning to play an offense that differed from the norm in a Bill Fennelly offense.

Since Stephanie Soares’ season-ending injury during the team’s game against Oklahoma, the team has been moving back towards that form, doing so Saturday in a 64-50 win over Kansas.

“I couldn’t be more proud of my team,” Fennelly said after the game. “What they did this week was incredible – and my staff. No one plans for it. No one should have to deal with it, and the way they’ve competed is incredible.”

Fennelly’s mother passed away earlier in the week and he watched half of his team’s 2-0 week from afar while Iowa State got back on track with a win over Oklahoma State on Wednesday.

On Saturday, Iowa State attempted 14 3-pointers in the first quarter and didn’t score on either of its two attempts from inside the arc in the opening 10 minutes.

While it’s something of circumstances that it happened, it’s also evidence of the mold the team is trying to get back to.

“It was my fault,” Fennelly said of the first quarter. “I think I scared them a little too much about (Kansas big Taiyan Jackson). Like ‘don’t throw it in there, she’s going to block your shot,’ so we said, ‘heck we’re going to start chucking them.’ But you still have to – like in football – if you’re a passing team run the ball every once in a while.”

There was no desire to open fire from the arc as much as Iowa State was in the quarter, and the pace slowed down. However, the offense picked up.

Ashley Joens finished with 26 points and 15 rebounds, shooting 10-19 in what might have been the best game of her season thus far.

“From a basketball standpoint, I want to say Ashley Joens was Ashley Joens,” Fennelly said after the game, to keep it simple.

Iowa State’s trio of stars has been there and done that, but the team is seeing the growth of its other players that will play a pivotal role in the results of this year.

Redshirt sophomore Izzi Zingaro came away with a career-high 11 points as well as six rebounds in the game.

“Her teammates trust her,” Fennelly said. “They want her to succeed… Emily (Ryan) calls a lot of her own plays and she called Izzi’s number like three plays in a row. You don’t do that unless you trust where the ball’s going.”

Meanwhile, Nyamer Diew hit three triples in the game, helping Iowa State to a 13-4 mark on the year as well as a 9-0 record at Hilton Coliseum this season.

The game looked a lot like the marquee performances Iowa State fans saw a season ago and that’s a good sign for what’s to come the rest of the way.

Iowa State will return to floor to face off with TCU (6-12, 0-7 Big 12) on the road Wednesday night (6:30 p.m. ESPN+).