A ranked West Virginia squad comes into Ames while the Cyclones continue to boast their undefeated conference run, looking to make it four in a row in the conference.
Iowa State got off to a slow start from beyond the arc, but from the work of Audi Crooks down low, they were able to stay in this one early. Crooks had 9 of the Cyclones’ 19 points in the first quarter, starting things off with a nice layup through contact, knocking home the free throw to match the JJ Quinerly 3-pointer to start the game. Quinerly wasn’t the only one knocking down shots from the perimeter as the Mountaineers shot 5-12 from the arc in the first quarter, taking a 21-19 lead into the second.
Iowa State continued to attack the basket in the second quarter, but it seemed like every Cyclones punch was met with an equal Mountaineer counter-punch. None of those were more apparently than after Jalynn Bristow knocked down a pair of free throws to get the Cyclone deficit to four at 31-27. Following that, West Virginia got a pair of offensive rebounds before a Kylee Blacksten triple, starting a 12-2 run, opening the lead all the way up to 43-29 with just one minute to go in the half. Some free throws here and there in the final minute had the Cyclones trailing 44-31 at the break. Held without a 3-pointer while WVU shot 9-24 from deep.
Unfortunately for Iowa State, the WVU 3-point shooting did not go away as following an Emily Ryan bucket and free throw cut the deficit to 44-36, WVU went on an immediate 11-0 run (including a pair of triples) to grow the lead to their largest of the night at 19 points, 55-36. Then, finally, after twenty-five minutes of game time, Kelsey Joens knocked down the Cyclones’ first three ball of the evening, opening the flood gates for the offense. Back-to-back-to-back three balls by the aforementioned Joens, Brown, then Belanger got the Cyclones back within 10 with 1:46 to go. They got it all the way down to an 8-point deficit by the end of the quarter with a pair of Arianna Jackson free throws, 55-47.
The Cyclone run continued into the fourth quarter. With Emily Ryan and Hannah Belanger leading the charge, the Cyclones kept within striking distance before an Addy Brown triple got them within one score for the first time since the first half. Audi Crooks then rattled off a pair of buckets down low including an emphatic and-one to give the Cyclones their first lead of the contest at 64-62 with just under 4:00 to go. The teams went over the next three minutes before Emily Ryan and Hannah Belanger ran the most perfect give and go you could’ve drawn up to give the Cyclones a two-possession lead at 68-64 with one minute to go. Ryan continued her dominating fourth quarter with a pair of free throws at 32 seconds left to put the lead at 6, 70-64. Belanger also knocked down a pair from the charity stripe to essentially ice it at 72-64. With a missed 3-pointer on the West Virginia half and an Emily Ryan rebound (and trip to the foul line), the Cyclones completed the 19-point second half comeback, adding yet another tremendous game to the tales of Hilton Magic, 74-64. 4-0 Big 12 start for a team with this many freshmen and transfers is as great of a sign as you could get. Bring on Baylor.