The game after a physical matchup like Baylor is always a rough one, especially on the road. Iowa State looks to remedy the loss to the Lady Bears with a win on the road against the 21st ranked Mountaineers. It was a rough shooting night for both teams, as both defenses came out looking sharp, and neither offense could capitalize on the good looks that they did get.
West Virginia led the entire first quarter, except for a 2-0 Cyclones lead in the first minute. Aubrey Joens tied it back up at 13 with just under 2:00 to go, but Kari Niblack knocked home a pair of free throws (something the Mountaineers often did on Wednesday) to put the Cyclones down 2 at the end of the first.
Free throws were one of the major stories for Iowa State in Morgantown, and not in the way you’d like it to be if you’re the Cyclones. West Virginia outshot the Cyclones 18 to 4 from the charity stripe, and even with just 4 shots, Iowa State didn’t do themselves any favors, only hitting 1 (WVU hit 15.) Much like the Baylor game, a single glaring weakness limited the Cyclones, who live or in this case, died by the 3, taking a whopping 39 attempts from deep, only hitting 11.
It was more of the same in the 2nd quarter, though Iowa State did manage to outscore WVU, it was only by a margin of 13 to 12, and the Cyclones trailed at the half 27-26. On pace to score their lowest point total of the season, Iowa State would have to look for something to get going in the second half.
The Cyclones did tighten up their major deficiency from the Baylor game, as they were only outrebounded by 4, 42-38. They especially cleaned it up while on defense, limiting the Mountaineers to just 8 offensive boards.
Trailing by 1 at the start of the 3rd, the Cyclones looked to take their 2nd lead of the game, but the home team Mountaineers had other ideas. Ashley Joens and company were held scoreless through the first 3+ minutes, and suddenly, what seemed to be a very feasible comeback was a 9 point deficit. Madison Wise finally got it going for the Cyclones with a layup on an assist from Kylie Feuerbach, and the Cyclones would start to gain their momentum back. They answered the 8-0 run with a 12-5 run of their own, and the lead was back down to 2, at 40-38. Unfortunately for the Cyclones, as has often been the case this year, the run was shut down just a bit too soon, and they would get no closer than 2 the rest of the way.
The Mountaineers were able to fend off the Cyclones for the final 10 minutes, holding about a 6 point lead the whole way, and the cold shooting and desperation sunk in. Iowa State, unable to shoot their way back into it, fell to the Mountaineers 65-56, dropping their second straight game.
All is not lost for the Cyclones, who still sit just a game and half back of Baylor, West Virginia, and Oklahoma State for the Big 12 Conference lead, sitting right alongside the Texas Longhorns. They’ll look to get back on track after dropping 3 of the last 4 against the Red Raiders of Texas Tech back in Hilton on Saturday, February 6th.
Iowa State Cyclones
West Virginia Mountaineers