The 3-0 Big 12 start for Iowa State was more than alive as the Twister Sisters headed out to Provo to take on the BYU Cougars.
It started off beautifully for the Cyclones, who were able to shake their slow start in their last matchup with Kansas by kicking off the game with an Arianna Jackson 3-pointer after an Audi Crooks offensive board. The freshman guard wasn’t done knocking down triples as she also got the Cyclones the lead back to 11-8 at the 5:31 mark with her second of the night. Jackson was helped out in the first quarter by freshmen cohorts who when Iowa State got down 16-11, knocked down 9 straight points to take a 20-16 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter struggle reared its ugly head once again in Provo as the Cyclones went ice cold from the floor, scoring just an Addy Brown jump shot in the first four minutes of the quarter. The teams then traded baskets after at the midway point of the quarter, resulting in a 26-24 Cyclones lead with five minutes to go before the break. Unfortunately for the Cyclones, the remainder of the half was mostly Cougar controlled, as the home team rattled off six straight points before closing out the half with a Kailey Woolston 3-pointer in the final seconds to give BYU the 33-30 lead at intermission.
BYU continued the momentum coming out of the break with an Amari Whiting jumper and an Emma Calvert triple. The lead quickly grew to 8 in the in the first minute, but the Cyclone freshmen were not phased. Jackson and Brown answered the five point run with five quick ones of their own. The five-point runs traded back to BYU again with a Kailey Woolston triple and a Lauren Gustin jump shot. It was just before the six-minute mark where the Cyclones’ offense came alive to close out the quarter. A flurry of 3-point baskets from Jackson, Joens, a pair from Brown, and then the closer from Jackson with 40 seconds left to close out the quarter with the lead (Audi Crooks added a pair of last second free throws) at 55-51 Cyclone, capping off a 17-8 run.
BYU would not be run out of their home gym so easily though, as another quick run to start the quarter went the way of the Cougars on a pair of triples made by Woolston and Smiler to even the ball game up at 57. The Cyclones would grow their lead out to a game-high of nine points at 68-59 with an Emily Ryan layup with just under six minutes to go. It was very clear as the game came to a close that despite the limited game time this season, Bill Fennelly and the team knew who was getting the ball. Emily Ryan was cool, calm, and collected in the final minutes, especially at the free throw line. She knocked down five of six from the line in the final four minutes, helping the Cyclones maintain the lead of around 7 the remainder of the game. BYU closed it to as few as four with an Amari Whiting layup, but Iowa State answered as Emily Ryan ran out most of the shot clock on the final possession before finding an open Addy Brown at the top of the key for the dagger three-pointer.
Iowa State closed it out from there, taking the game 80-75, maintaining their undefeated conference start. A great sign, given this “easy” conference schedule very quickly turns into back-to-back home contests against ranked teams in West Virginia and Baylor.