Following a tough loss at the Phog to Kansas, the Twister Sisters hit the road to Morgantown for their third straight road game (home game vs. TCU canceled.)
Much like the first meeting in Ames, this one was an electric shooting performance from both teams. Both teams made a pair of threes in the first quarter as the Cyclones got out in front early with a 14-9 lead as Kelsey Joens made a nifty layup with just over 4:00 to go in the first quarter. That was all the scoring they’d get for the remainder of the opening frame as the Mountaineers closed on a 7-0 run, capped off by a Lauren Fields triple at the horn, to take a 16-14 lead.
West Virginia was able to maintain the slim lead through the early part of the second quarter, despite Audi Crooks’ best efforts. The freshman scored the first six points of the quarter, but the deficit remained at 25-20 after a Kylee Blacksten three-pointer. The Cyclones then caught fire again. A flurry of three-pointers from Jackson, Brown, Belanger, and Diew had the Cyclones up 39-35 with 1:41 to go before the break in what was turning out to be quite the offensive showing. Iowa State was able to hold the slim lead at 40-38 at the break. Both teams were 7/14 from deep at that time.
The tides then shifted in the second half back in favor of the Mountaineers. They would close the game shooting 6/13 from deep, while the Cyclones only went 2/14 in the second half. That proved to be costly for the Cyclones as despite the excellent free throw shooting, and 25-point game from Audi Crooks, they found themselves in a hole much of the second half. Every Iowa State mini run to close the gap was met by a timely bucket from the Mountaineers.
The Mountaineers led by anywhere from three to seven points for much of the second half, but even with the game seemingly swinging out of control at 67-60 with under 8:00 to go, the Cyclones, as they’ve done numerous times this year, began the comeback. Over the next four minutes, the Cyclones went on an 11-6 run to get the game back within two at 3:54 to go with an Addy Brown layup. Then, just as they’d done all game, the Mountaineers answered. They got a good look from deep with JJ Quinerly, who swished through and gave the Mountaineers their two possession lead back. The Cyclones got no closer than three points short the remainder of the way, and West Virginia made their free throws down the line, closing out the game 84-78.
The biggest difference in the game was the perimeter shooting in the second half. The Cyclones kept pace early on in the game, but after the break, the three ball went away, and so did the game.
The Cyclones will be back in action, finally back at home, on January 31st when they take on the Oklahoma State Cowgirls (another team they’ll be searching for the season sweep over) at 6:30 pm.