Following a big-time emotional win over Oklahoma State, the Twister Sisters took on the Jayhawks of Kansas back in Ames. A big welcome back to coach Fennelly and also a big welcome back to the Cyclones’ defense in this one.
Iowa State was able to stifle Kansas’ attacks for most, if not all, of this one. Pair that with the return of 20/10 Ashley Joens and an Iowa State team that shot the ball from the 3-point line like the explosive teams of old and this one was set up to be a blowout from the beginning.
Joens led the way for the Cyclones with arguably her best performance of the season, knocking down 10 of her 19 shots (5 of 11 from deep) for 26 points and adding a season-high 15 rebounds.
It was a hotly contested battle in the first quarter, with the Jayhawks leading until about five minutes in, and was able to keep within striking distance at the end of the first quarter, with the Cyclones leading just 15-12. That would be as close as the Jayhawks would get it the remainder of the game as Ashley Joens and company would solidify their lead throughout the end of the first half and the early part of the second.
The second half was much more of what we’ve come to expect from this group. Build up a strong lead, trade basket for basket, and then just suck the air out of the ball and the pace down the stretch. Limit possessions, force bad shots from the opponent and continuing to play sound, fundamental basketball.
With the much-needed three-point shooting from Ashley Joens and the defensive expertise forcing 13 Jayhawk turnovers, the Cyclones picked up their second win in a row and fifth in their first seven in Big 12 play 64-50, keeping pace with Oklahoma, Texas, and Baylor in the tightly contested race for the conference's #1 seed.
The Twister Sisters will be back in action Wednesday, January 25th when they head to Ft. Worth, Texas to take on the TCU Horned Frogs at 6:30 p.m.