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A Tale of Two Halves: Once Again, Cyclone Women Let a Lead Slip Away

Iowa State led 38-27 at the half. Things went downhill from there.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State (10-7, 1-5) was up by as much as 13 points early in the 3rd quarter on Sunday afternoon, but the TCU Horned Frogs stormed back for an 80-75 win in Fort Worth.

It’s another devastating loss for the Cyclone women, who got off to a strong start and appeared in control for most of the first half. Sophomore Bridget Carleton scored 30 points, but she didn’t get much help, and the Horned Frogs earned their first conference win of the season. A post scoring presence continues to be largely non-existent for Iowa State.

Emily Durr scored 12 points, Seanna Johnson had 12 as well, and Jadda Buckley added 11 points.

With two quick threes, Carleton helped Iowa State jump to an early 6-0 lead. But after that, the Cyclones went scoreless for nearly five minutes of the 1st quarter, despite numerous good looks at the basket. With less than two minutes to play in the 1st, Nia Washington, a freshman guard averaging about 10 minutes per game, made a jumper to give Iowa State a 14-8 advantage. By the end of the 1st, the Cyclones held a 14-11 lead.

The Horned Frogs got within one point early in the 2nd quarter before Durr converted on a four-point play to put the Cyclones ahead 20-15. Buckley, who now has more than 1,000 points in her Iowa State career, made a jumper that was followed by another three from Durr. With 6:32 left in the half, Iowa State had a 25-15 lead. The Cyclones got up as much as a dozen before TCU went on a little run, but Carleton hit a three in the waning seconds of the half to put Iowa State up 38-27 at the break.

The Cyclones built their lead despite zero points from Johnson in the first 20 minutes.

Johnson came ready to play in the 3rd quarter, and she gave the Cyclones a 40-27 lead right out of the locker room. TCU wouldn’t go away, however, and the Horned Frogs made three straight treys to get within 43-44. TCU continued the spree and ultimately took a 48-44 lead before Iowa State scored again. It marked another dismal stretch for the Cyclones, who have gotten in the habit of building leads and letting them slip away in conference play. Iowa State managed to avert disaster with a Johnson three and two buckets from Carleton that tied the game at 54-54. The Horned Frogs scored 29 points in the 3rd and took a 56-54 lead into the 4th quarter.

TCU held onto the lead early in the 4th, and although Johnson brought the Cyclones within 61-62 with 7:32 to play, the loss mirrored many of Iowa State’s recent mishaps. The Cyclones kept things close late, but it never really seemed they would be able to make a final push. Carleton made it 65-67 with 3:35 to play, and although TCU hit a three on the next possession, Durr answered with a three of her own to keep Iowa State in striking distance at 68-70.

Then, Carleton tied the game at 70-70 with just over a minute to play, but TCU put Iowa State’s comeback hopes in serious jeopardy with a three pointer. Once the Cyclones failed to answer, the Horned Frogs closed the game out at the free throw line.

Unfortunately, the prospect of quickly turning things around appears unlikely for the Cyclones, who travel to Waco for a game against the No. 2 Baylor Bears at 7pm on Wednesday. The game is available on Fox Sports Plus.