The Cyclones had to fight their way through the first round. Michigan State played them tough all the way through. Ashley Joens’ outstanding perforamnce was enough to put them over the edge. She broke Bridget Carleton’s single game scoring mark of 31 points with 33 of her own.
Iowa State got off to a red hot start in the first quarter. Ashley Joens hit two quick back to back threes, and it looked like this one could close in on a triple digit mark by the end of the game. Michigan State never got far from behind early, Iowa State led by 7 points towards the end of the first quarter but never extended that lead to double digits in the first half.
Iowa State would show some 2-3 zone, which is a pretty common answer for when the Cyclones are facing size that they struggle with. The zone continues to show weaknesses though. Slow rotations on quick perimeter passing, giving up offensive rebounds and easy second chance points has been a trend. The Cyclones really struggle to keep that defensive intensity in a 2-3. The Cyclones would go back to man defense in the second half.
Madi Wise, the senior, played spectacular throughout. Wise finished with a double double 13 points 11 boards, including 4 rebounds. Sprinting after loose balls, and pressuring the ball on defense. She had some hard drives to the basket that would result in layups as well. A great showing in what could’ve been her last game.
The star of the game, no shocker here, was Ashley Joens. She filled it up with 33 points and 9 rebounds. She was 4-7 from three point land, and 9-12 from the charity stripe. She played excellent down the stretch as well.
This is something to keep an eye on, for the Cyclones and basketball in general. On a sideline inbounds play, usually late game. The Cyclones had two people in the back court, presumably as decoys, and two people on their side of the basket. This lessens the traffic on the part of the court where the inbound passer is trying to get the ball. I’ve seen this in more and more NBA games, and it’s interesting to see it cross over here.
The Cyclones led by four at half time, but had cooled off in the second quarter. In the third quarter the Cyclones got their lead up to 60-50. The Spartans would go on a run of their own from the third quarter into the start of the fourth.
Ashley Joens was 0-5 in the fourth quarter until she made two huge, vintage, off balance layups through contact in the low post. The Spartans never went away getting offensive rebound after offensive rebound.
Iowa State was able to put the game away with their excellent free throw shooting. The Cyclones are 2nd in the country as team, and that could prove invaluable in games going forward. Cyclones win 79-75 and will face Texas A&M who barely survived their first round matchup against Troy.