Iowa State is in Portland for the Phil Knight Invitational, which by the way, is so awesome that both our men’s and women’s teams get to compete. Twister Sisters drew Michigan State in the 7th all-time matchup between the schools. Iowa State has won the previous two meetings to lock up the series at 3 apiece. Cyclones come in at 4-0 as Sparty sits at 6-0, neither team facing a P5 opponent thus far. The fightin’ Bill Fennellys are 5-point favorites, let’s do this thing!
Iowa State rolls with the typical starting five of Fritz-Ryan-Donarski-Joens-Soares. Cyclones start off with some great pressure on the defensive end and getting good looks on offense, but trail at the first media timeout, 8-6. Ashley Joens and Denae Fritz each with a three-pointer in the early going. Emily Ryan picks up back-to-back assists out of the timeout as she finds Morgan Kane for a layup and Lexi Donarski at the top of the key for a triple to give Iowa State a lead. Stephanie Soares then found her groove to get a layup and a three on back-to-back possessions and gets a block on the other end to aid a 10-0 run for the good guys. Cyclones close the quarter quietly but lead 18-12 after one, Soares leading the way with 7 points, 3 blocks, and a pair of rebounds. Ashley Joens found herself with two fouls though, which was less than ideal.
Cyclones open up the 2nd quarter with more great defense, Soares picking up another block. Iowa State hit 5 of their first 10 attempts from beyond the arc as Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw extends the lead to double digits two minutes into the quarter. It took Michigan State three minutes to find a bucket, as Iowa State saw a lead grow to 13 after a 9-2 run. Big girls going to work as Morgan Kane takes over before the media timeout. Both teams fell into a drought towards the end of the quarter, MSU at one point going over five minutes without a point. Sparty made just one field goal in the 2nd quarter, as ISU outscored them 19-5 in the quarter. Was not the prettiest way to end the 1st half, but the Cyclones lead through two, 37-17.
Ryan opens up the quarter by finding Soares before Soares finds Ryan as Iowa State picked up where they left off and ISU’s lead reached 22. Michigan State finally gets a couple of shots to fall, but Iowa State responds each time in order to keep the 20+ point cushion. Clonies went cold before trading a few buckets to end the quarter, where they led 53-29 with 10 minutes to play. Stephanie Soares dominate through three quarters, posting an 18-point, 8-rebound, 5-block, and 3-assist line to that point.
Michigan State hits its 1st three-pointer of the day with 9:39 left in the game to break 30 points. Cyclones put this bad boy in cruise control for the rest of the quarter, as there was never really a doubt in this one despite the Spartans figuring out their offense throughout the 4th. Lexi Donarski, Ashley Joens, and Denae Fritz all hit threes around the five-minute mark to put the nail in the coffin. Isn’t that relaxing? Twister Sisters take this one 80-49.
Iowa State will play North Carolina in the Phil Knight Invitational championship game on Sunday, November 27th at 6:30 pm on ESPN2.