The Cyclone women earned an absolutely crucial 70-66 victory over the No. 6 Texas Longhorns on Friday night in Austin. Iowa State’s furious push toward an NCAA bid over the past month set the stage for a matchup against Texas on Friday that felt like a tournament play-in game.
With the victory over the Longhorns, the Cyclones (17-11, 8-9) have now won four straight Big 12 games for the first time in four years. Seanna Johnson led the way for Iowa State with 22 points and six rebounds, Bridget Carleton added 18 points, and Jadda Buckley scored 14.
After trailing 4-10 early, a mini run helped Iowa State pull to within 8-10. With about two minutes left in the 1st quarter, a Johnson layup followed by a basket from TeeTee Starks put the Cyclones ahead 15-14. Carleton extended the lead on a jumper of her own before Texas tied it up at 19-19 near the end of the quarter. Heather Bowe capitalized on an offensive rebound from Emily Durr to put the Cyclones ahead 22-19 at the end of the period.
Iowa State shot the ball especially well early in the game, and, despite eight Texas offensive rebounds midway through the 2nd quarter, the Cyclones took a 28-21 lead thanks to a three from Carleton. The Canadian sophomore followed the trey with an impressive block that led to a fast break and a Texas foul at the opposite end of the floor.
Heading into the 2nd quarter media timeout, Buckley converted on a layup to give Iowa State a 30-23 advantage. Several poor possessions by the Cyclones allowed Texas to go on a 6-0 run, but Iowa State drew fouls, got in the bonus, and used timely free throws to hold a 37-33 lead at the break. Although Texas had nine more rebounds than the Cyclones in the 1st half, Iowa State had just four turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.
The Longhorns continued to dominate on the glass at the start of the 3rd quarter and got within one point on a three-point play. Carleton started the scoring out of the locker room with a layup, but she quickly picked up her third foul, and the offense slowed for the Cyclones.
Johnson decided to take over the game, and 10 straight points from the senior were vital to give the Cyclones a buffer at 47-39, Iowa State’s largest lead of the game. Texas kept pace, and both teams suddenly caught fire from the floor.
A shot clock violation followed by a couple poor shots helped Texas get within one, but Carleton made a game-changing play when she intercepted a Longhorn pass with just seconds remaining in the 3rd quarter and heaved a prayer that was answered as the buzzer sounded to give Iowa State a 58-54 lead heading into the final 10 minutes.
The Cyclones had several opportunities to extend the lead early in the 4th quarter, but the shots wouldn’t fall, and Texas went on a 6-0 run to take a 60-58 lead before Iowa State was forced to take a timeout. Out of the timeout, the Cyclones stopped the bleeding with a jumper that Buckley converted as the shot clock was winding down. Bowe made her presence felt on a three that gave the Cyclones the lead back, and Starks had a nice drive to put Iowa State back ahead 65-60.
Out of a media timeout, Starks once again got a layup on a loose ball, and it seemed the Cyclones might be on the verge of a victory. Buckley couldn’t connect on two free throws that would’ve put Iowa State up seven, and Johnson failed to hit an open jumper from the top of the key. Johnson made a free throw with just over a minute to play that put the Cyclones back up two possessions, but Texas got within 66-68 on a steal and layup when Iowa State still had plenty of shot clock to burn.
The Longhorns then had the ball down two points with less than 30 seconds to play, but Texas couldn’t make two shots, and Carleton was able to secure the victory at the free throw line.
The Cyclones return to Ames for a Monday showdown with Oklahoma State at 7pm. The game is available on Cyclones.tv.