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Cyclones Avoid First Round Scare

Ashley Joens pours out 36 to help the Clones advance.

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament - First Round - Iowa Photo by Rebecca Gratz/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The highly seeded Cyclones entered the home game in Hilton Coliseum as heavy favorites against the UT Arlington Mavericks. The first possession of the game went exactly as expected. Ashley Joens lay-up. That bucket was the last part of the game that anyone could describe as “exactly as expected.” The upset bid was on early as UT Arlington would get hot and take a lead quickly. The Mavericks would take a 22-14 lead into the quarter thanks to their own hot shooting and uncharacteristically poor shooting from the Clones.

The Cyclones had to throw the scouting report in the trash due to the Mavericks' unexpected hot shooting. The teams traded buckets until the Mavericks extended their lead to 12 with just over four minutes to play in the half. After that mark, the Clones were able to outscore UT Arlington 10-4 to end up winning the quarter score by two and cut the lead back to six despite a rare night of a very low free throw percentage. Going into the half, ESPN’s “Win Probability” gave UTA a 60.1% chance of winning the game.

Ashley Joens scored five quick points out of the break and cut the lead to three. The teams went back and forth until Ashley Joens was able to finally get the Cyclones a 49-48 lead. Finally getting their shot, the Twister Sisters found a rhythm and played their best offensive and defensive quarter of the game as they outscored the Mavericks 22-13 and took a three-point lead into the final period.

The Mavericks entered the final quarter on a run and were able to take the lead back away from Iowa State. The teams continued to keep it close until the very end, and ISU finally got the lead that they would hold on to with around five minutes to play in the game. The final minutes were filled with a loud Hilton Coliseum and lots of Cyclone free throw opportunities.

Despite a shocking 57% free throw percentage and only going 7-20 from three, the Cyclones were able to survive and win in Hilton. Ashley Joens poured out 36 points and 50% three-point shooting, and Emily Ryan had 20 including some clutch buckets. It wasn’t pretty but the Cyclones took home a win on a night where only five players scored. The Clones return to Hilton on Sunday against Georgia.