The Iowa State women picked up a huge 80-55 road victory over No. 22 West Virginia on Saturday in Morgantown. The Cyclones (13-10, 4-8) were in control the entire game and led by an impressive 31-point effort from sophomore Bridget Carleton.
Emily Durr contributed 14 points, and Meredith Burkhall added another 12 points. Seanna Johnson finished with seven points and nine rebounds.
Both teams got off to a fast start, and a three from Carleton put the Cyclones ahead 7-5 less than two minutes into the game. As the furious pace continued, Durr gave Iowa State a 12-8 lead with 5:38 to play in the 1st quarter.
Carleton dominated inside and out early in the game. The Canadian had 11 points in just the first 10 minutes. A Cyclone scoring drought helped the Mountaineers get as close as three points, but Iowa State held an 18-13 lead at the end of the 1st.
West Virginia hit a three on its first possession of the 2nd quarter, but a nice lob inside to Johnson put the Cyclones up 20-16. Johnson was an important presence on the offensive boards for Iowa State, which had nine second chance points midway through the 2nd quarter and 14 total for the game.
The hot streak continued for Carleton, who, with yet another trey, gave Iowa State a 26-19 lead. Defensively, Iowa State was also effective, holding the Mountaineers scoreless for several minutes in the 2nd. A four-point play by West Virginia near the end of the half deflated some of Iowa State’s momentum, but the Cyclones recovered very quickly to lead 37-28 at the half. Carleton had 22 points at the half. Burkhall contributed a solid six points in the first 20 minutes.
Carleton missed two shots to start the 3rd, but Jadda Buckley made a three to earn her first points of the game and give Iowa State a 40-30 advantage. Buckley, who looked like she might be taking the baton from Carleton, hit two mid-range jumpers for a 46-33 Cyclones lead. Durr hit a couple threes near the end of the 3rd for a 54-37 Cyclones advantage. Heading into the 4th quarter, Iowa State extended its lead to 60-41.
It seems Iowa State has learned its lesson from earlier in the year when it lost several 4th quarter leads. Continuing to fire on all cylinders in the waning minutes, the Cyclone offense looked effortless, and strong defense kept West Virginia at bay. Capping off her day and tying her career high, Carleton converted on a three-point play that put the Cyclones ahead 73-44. With the reserves coming of the bench, Iowa State coasted to the 25-point victory.
An NCAA tournament bid still isn’t out of the question for the Cyclones, who will likely need to win at least five of the last six games to finish .500 in the Big 12. The toughest game remaining is undoubtedly a road trip to Austin to play the Longhorns on February 24.
The Cyclones have a bye week and travel to Kansas State next Saturday for a 1pm tip against the Wildcats. The game is available on Fox Sports Net.