Wednesday night against Texas was a bit of a mulligan for the Cyclones’ women’s basketball team, but they wouldn’t have much time to bounce back as they returned home to take on the 15th ranked Oklahoma Sooners to try and keep pace with the Baylor Bears for first place in the Big 12 conference. With Kansas and Baylor both winning earlier in the day on Saturday, a home win to sweep the Sooners would be imperative for the Cyclones’ run to close the season.
After a rough shooting night in Austin, Texas, the Cyclones wasted little to no time getting back on their feet on Saturday evening. An electric start to the game as the Cyclones lit it up from beyond the arc early and often, lighting up the Sooners for 28 points in the first quarter. The defense was no slouch either, as Lexi Donarski and company held the Sooners to just 16 in the first frame and gave the Cyclones plenty of wiggle room as the game progressed.
Spoiler alert: They did not need that buffer
Oklahoma closed the gap from 12 to 10 at the end of the 1st half, but the Cyclones maintained that double-digit lead the entire time. Largely due to Ashley Joens having a monster game (just like the doctor ordered) the Cyclones once again piled it on in the 2nd half with more lights out shooting and more stellar defense.
Ashley Joens led the way with a 28 point, 9 rebound night for the Cyclones who gashed the Sooners defense for a second 28 point quarter out of halftime, outscoring OU 28-12 in the 3rd quarter. Turns out when you shoot 16 of 40 beyond the arc, you tend to win games. Who’d have thought? Well, other than maybe this exact Cyclone team who eclipsed ten made 3-pointers for the 12th time this season.
Add on an electric Hilton crowd and a pair of buzzer-beaters at the end of the first and third quarters and you’ve got yourself a season sweep of Oklahoma. Just that simple.
Extra round of applause tonight for Lexi Donarski for her defense on Oklahoma guard, Taylor Robertson. Robertson came into the night averaging over 17 points per game and Donarski, who was the primary defender most of the night, allowed just 5 points on 2-4 shooting. It’s that kind of defense that really helps propel this team to big wins like they got tonight, and Donarski has done that virtually all year.
Now the Cyclones prepare for another tough Big 12 test as they head to Lawrence, Kansas for a date with the 19-5 Jayhawks on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN+.