The Iowa State women's basketball team did not get the 40 minutes of consistent, quality basketball that Bill Fennelly wanted, but 20 minutes was enough on Tuesday night at Allen Fieldhouse, where the Cyclones defeated the Kansas Jayhawks 63-53. Iowa State, which got its first win since a January 9th contest against the Jayhawks, moves to 12-9 on the season and 4-6 in Big 12 play. Seanna Johnson led the Cyclones with 20 points. Jadda Buckley added 14 points for Iowa State in the winning effort.
The Cyclones started with three early turnovers, a trend that would continue throughout the half, and didn't get points until over three minutes into the game on an Emily Durr bucket. Despite the sluggish start, Iowa State played well defensively and took a 5-3 lead midway through the 1st quarter. The Cyclones were up 9-3 and appeared to be off to a strong quarter, but an abysmal eight turnovers in the 1st helped Kansas come back. The Jayhakws used a full-court press to make a run that left the game tied at 13 after 10 minutes.
Iowa State shot poorly and continued to lack coordination throughout the rest of the half. Cyclone players regularly drove to the basket and made errant passes or attempted difficult, unsuccessful shots that only led to quick trips for the Kansas defense. Midway through the 2nd quarter, a wide-open three gave the Jayhawks a 24-18 advantage, Kansas' largest lead of the entire Big 12 season. Iowa State was unable to solve the turnover problems and finished with 13 first-half giveaways. Making matters worse, the Cyclones only shot 27% from the field in the first 20 minutes. The 2nd quarter ended with Kansas up 28-18. Meredith Burkhall led the Cyclones with six points in the first half.
One can only wonder what Bill Fennelly said in the hafltime locker room. The 3rd quarter started with a revived Cyclone squad and an 8-2 run that put Iowa State within four points and forced Kansas to take a timeout. After a Kansas field goal, Burkhall converted a three-point play to make it a 29-32 deficit for Iowa State. Though the Cyclones kept missing some easy shots early in the quarter, there was much better ball movement and more open opportunities to start the half. Iowa State eventually capitalized on the improved discipline on offense and scored 25 points in the quarter. Equally important, the Cyclones erased the halftime deficit with strong defense that limited Kansas to just 10 points in the 3rd quarter. By the end of the quarter, the Cyclones were up 43-38.
Going into the 4th quarter, three Jayhawk players had four fouls, and Iowa State took advantage with six minutes left in the game. A Johnson basket followed by a Buckley three extended Iowa State's lead to 54-47. Bridget Carleton kept Kansas at bay with a three-point play to make it 57-49 with just over three minutes to play. The Cyclones did a much better job taking care of the ball in the 2nd half. After 13 turnovers in the first half, Iowa State committed just four turnovers in the 2nd half.
The Cyclones return to Hilton to take on the Texas Longhorns on Saturday at 1:30pm. Iowa State lost to the Longhorns 54-75 on January 6th in Austin. Saturday's game can be watched on Fox Sports 2.