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On Senior Night, Cyclone Women Beat Cowgirls, Solidify Tournament Status

Seanna Johnson, as she has for four years, led Iowa State on Monday night.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Iowa State women, now winners of five straight games, defeated the Oklahoma State Cowgirls 61-48 on senior night at Hilton Coliseum. An improbable run over the past month means the Cyclones, regardless of what happens at the Big 12 Tournament this weekend, will almost certainly return to the NCAA Tournament after missing the Big Dance last year.

In her final game at Hilton, Seanna Johnson led the way for the Cyclones with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Jadda Buckley added 15 points.

The Cyclones (18-11, 9-9), fresh off their top ten road victory against Texas, started slow on offense, but Johnson put Iowa State on the board with 7:35 to play in the 1st quarter. Though Iowa State got down early, in the friendly confines of Hilton Coliseum, and given the recent success of Bill Fennelly’s squad, the outcome never really seemed in doubt.

A three-point play from Buckley put the Cyclones ahead at 5-4. Iowa State was able to jump further ahead thanks to strong zone defense that made OSU uncomfortable and held the Cowgirls scoreless for over five minutes of the quarter. By the end of the period, Iowa State had a 19-8 lead.

The Cyclones were without Bridget Carleton, who picked up two quick fouls, for the entire 2nd quarter. That didn’t stall the home team early in the quarter, and Iowa State extended its lead to 21-8 on a sharp pass inside from Buckley to Meredith Burkhall, who was fouled and sank two free throws. Even once the Cowgirls got into double digits, the Cyclones quickly extended the lead to 26-10 on a three from Johnson.

A 7-0 run pulled Oklahoma State to within a dozen at 17-29. The Cyclones shot just 1-10 from the floor to close the half but were still able to take a 33-22 lead into the locker room.

The Cowgirls came within nine points early in the 3rd, though the Cyclones got the lead back up to double digits thanks to some improved offense. Buckley went out with a foot injury midway through the quarter, but the junior guard quickly returned to the lineup. With 2:32 in the 3rd, a steal and a jumper from Buckley put Iowa State up 45-31. Heading into the final 10 minutes, the Cyclones extended the lead to 51-34 on a couple easy layups.

A 6-0 spurt by the Cyclones to start the 4th quarter put the game solidly in Iowa State’s hands and allowed the Cyclones to mostly coast the rest of the way. In the end, seniors Jordan Jensen and Lexi Albrecht, who both started the game, were able to have their encore and step on the Hilton floor for one last time in an Iowa State uniform.

Iowa State, which finishes fifth in the Big 12, will play No. 4 seed Kansas State at 11am on Saturday in Oklahoma City in a Big 12 Tournament Quarterfinal. The game is available on Fox Sports Net. The Cyclones went 1-1 against the Wildcats in the regular season.