The Iowa State women’s basketball team couldn’t pass a difficult road test against Oklahoma State on Thursday in Stillwater, where the Cowgirls defeated the Cyclones 71-59 to open Big 12 Conference play.
Iowa State (9-3, 0-1), which has struggled to score in the post all season, instead went 10-20 from three-point range to keep itself in the game, but the offense wasn’t there when the Cyclones needed it most in the 4th quarter. Seanna Johnson led the way for the Cyclones with 16 points, Bridget Carleton added 15, and Jadda Buckley scored 9.
Graduate transfer Heather Bowe offered a welcome boost for Iowa State with 11 points, and the former Vanderbilt player could be the addition the Cyclones need in the Big 12.
The Cyclones started 4-7 from beyond the arc to build a 15-14 lead at the end of the 1st quarter, and the shooting spree continued into the 2nd quarter.
Six players contributed points in the opening 20 minutes, a welcome change after Carleton, Johnson, and Buckley largely dominated scoring in non-conference play. By halftime, the Cyclones maintained a 34-31 lead.
Right away in the 3rd quarter, the Cyclones made a concerted effort to get Meredith Burkhall involved, but the sophomore still looked very tentative, and Emily Durr disappeared on offense in the 2nd half. The Cyclones continue to fare the best when the ball is in the hands of Carleton, Buckley, or Johnson.
Bowe looks poised to join that trio, however, and she continued her strong shooting night with a three pointer that gave Iowa State a 39-33 cushion, but OSU clawed back, and the Cyclones held just a 47-44 lead with 10 minutes to play.
The Cyclones and Cowgirls traded baskets early in the 4th quarter, and Iowa State could not take advantage of a couple easy layups. With under six minutes to play, OSU tied the game at 54-54. The Cowgirls eventually stretched their lead to 61-56 with 2:30 to play, and free throws helped OSU coast to victory.
Iowa State returns to Hilton Coliseum for a New Year’s Day game against No. 16 Texas at noon. The game is available on Fox Sports Network.