Women's Basketball

WBB: Cyclones send off Ashley Joens in Senior Day win, secure Big 12 No. 3 seed

AMES, Iowa – Iowa State fans ended Senior Day at Hilton Coliseum in the same way they did a year ago, saying goodbye to one of the program’s most decorated and accomplished players, Ashley Joens.

This time, it was goodbye for real.

“It was a pretty amazing moment because I got the opportunity to come back for another year and play with this team,” Joens said, trying to hold back tears.

She finished the game with a team-high 22 points for her team and added 10 rebounds along the way in the 76-52 win over Texas Tech.

“Senior days are always hard,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “There’s so much emotion – I mean I’ve watched teams warm up and their seniors are crying in the layup line. The good thing is Ash is like, ‘It’s March 4th. We’re playing Texas Tech. What time’s the game? Let’s play.'”

When told that Joens teared up in her postgame interview, Fennelly nearly didn’t believe it.

“I don’t believe you, I’m going to have to see the video,” Fennelly said. “I’m glad she did. She should. Sometimes I think she doesn’t want to show any emotion. She doesn’t want to let people see that.”

Barring a run through the Big 12 tournament championship, Iowa State has played its last game of the year at Hilton Coliseum.

Although that run could still happen, nothing is guaranteed, and the fans showed their appreciation for not only Joens but the other four seniors being honored in Ames.

Emily Ryan helped Iowa State with 12 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in the game.

She sat next Joens and reflected on what seeing the reaction for Joens meant to her.

“It just goes to show how much the program means to her – and she means just as much to this program,” Ryan said. “She’s put in countless hours, blood, sweat and tears. There’s not enough good things we can say about everything Ashley Joens has done.”

Morgan Kane and Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw both started the game and scored during the win. Stephanie Soares and Beatriz Jordao helped will them on from the bench.

The program applied for a waiver to bring Soares back for another season, but Joens will enter the WNBA Draft after March Madness as Iowa State’s career leader in points, scoring average, rebounds, games played and many more categories.

Denae Fritz and Lexi Donarski each added nine points on three triples in the blowout.

Iowa State won’t simply replace Joens on its roster next season, but it will remember her for a long, long time.

And now, she’ll lead the Cyclones into Kansas City as the program holds the No. 3 seed in the weekend’s Big 12 Tournament.

“It’s kind of a new season – if you lose, you’re done,” Joens said. “You’ve got to leave it all out on the court.”

The Cyclones will face either West Virginia or Baylor at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 10 (ESPN+) in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament.