Friday night marked the end of the season for the Iowa State women, who lost 84-89 to the Texas Tech Lady Raiders in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. Iowa State shot the ball well, hitting 44% of its shots from the floor, but the Cyclones struggled to rebound and finished the game with a 27-45 deficit in that category. Junior Seanna Johnson finished with 28 points and nine rebounds. Johnson, an All-Big 12 First Team selection this season, will undoubtedly play a huge role in the success of next year's squad. Freshman Bridget Carleton, who finished with 27 points, also had an outstanding scoring night. Sophomore guard Jadda Buckley had 13 points and tallied 12 assists.
Iowa State, which defeated Texas Tech 77-48 at Hilton Coliseum on February 17th, was in an early 2-12 hole against the Lady Raiders on Friday night. Carleton, a member of the All-Big 12 Freshman Team, sparked the Cyclones with a three pointer that led to a 6-0 run. The 1st quarter was fast paced and high scoring, a style that did not favor Iowa State. The Cyclones switched to a man defense late in the quarter to try and slow down the Lady Raiders. The man defense worked. After trailing 11-21, Iowa State went on a 7-0 run to close out the quarter with just a three-point deficit.
The Cyclones quickly tied the game at 21 on a three-point play from Johnson early in the 2nd quarter. With a Meredith Burkhall layup, Iowa State got its first lead of the game at 26-24. Carleton extended the lead to 31-26 on another three pointer with 6:21 to play in the half. The Lady Raiders made a 9-3 run to go ahead 35-34, and both teams traded baskets for the remainder of the half. Iowa State got a little separation and took a 46-43 lead into the locker room. Both teams shot the ball well in the opening 20 minutes. Carleton had 19 first-half points and Johnson added 16 points and 6 rebounds.
Emily Durr gave Iowa State a six-point lead out of the halftime break, but the Lady Raiders were able to hang close thanks to timely offensive rebounds and Iowa State turnovers. The Cyclones and Lady Raiders kept up the high pace and scoring throughout the quarter; neither team could get the stops necessary to create some distance. By the end of the 3rd, Iowa State was tied with Texas Tech at 63.
Carleton got the scoring started for the Cyclones in the 4th quarter to give Iowa State a 65-63 lead. An intentional foul called on the Lady Raiders on Carleton's basket allowed the freshman to add two free throws that extended Iowa State's lead to four points. With a quick run of its own, Texas Tech quickly tied the game at 67. The Cyclones got into the double bonus early in the final quarter and took advantage of free throw opportunities to stay just ahead of the Lady Raiders. Johnson was forced to sit for a large portion of the 4th quarter with four personal fouls, and Texas Tech took a 76-74 lead with under four minutes to play. Iowa State tied the game a few times, but the Lady Raiders always had an answer. Carleton made it a one-point game at 82-83 with under a minute to play, but Texas Tech hit two free throws on the next possession. Iowa State missed a layup on the other end, Johnson fouled out, and the Lady Raiders closed the game out at the foul line.
The Cyclones finish the season 13-17 and will miss the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 2005-06 season. Stay tuned to Wide Right Natty Lite in the coming days for a full recap of this season and a look ahead to the future of Iowa State women's basketball.