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Twister Sister falter on the road again, lose to UCF in Orlando

Four straight road losses for Iowa State

Syndication: The Ames Tribune Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune / USA TODAY NETWORK

It’s hard to call road games a “must win” in the Big 12, but if there ever was one, it’d be Iowa State’s trip down to Orlando to take on the Golden Knights of UCF. The Knights have struggled in conference play, sitting at just 1-8 in the Big 12. If Iowa State is going to find a road win, it has to be here.

The Cyclones’ road struggles continued as they’ve played just one game in Hilton since the January 13th win over Baylor, going 0-3 on the road in that stretch. They started the game back and forth with the Knights, trading buckets in a slow starting matchup. The Cyclones got up 12-9 following a pair of Emily Ryan free throws, but UCF would close the first quarter on a mini 4-0 run to take the 13-12 lead. A very quiet first quarter from both teams.

Iowa State wouldn’t stay quiet forever though, as late in the second quarter, they’d go one a run. With the game still in the balance at the TV timeout with 3:52 to go before half, the Cyclones trailed 18-17. The Cyclones went on to score on four straight possessions, putting together an oh-so-important 9-2 run to go up 26-20 with just under 2:00 to go. UCF answered with a pair of quick buckets as the half came to a close, before Kelsey Joens knocked down a massive three-pointer on the Cyclones’ final possession of the half to extend the lead back to five at 29-24.

And then the third quarter happened.

Iowa State started the third quarter how they ended the second. Answering every UCF bucket with points of their own. After a pair of Addy Brown free throws at the 6:58 mark in the quarter, the Cyclones had grown their lead to its largest at seven, 37-30. Then I have no idea what got into UCF senior guard Mya Burns, but she just decided at that point she wasn’t going to lose the game. Even if it meant shooting five three-pointers as a seasonal 24% shooter from deep. Of course, she rattled off four long balls in the quarter (3 on consecutive possessions) to give the Knights the 48-47 lead with a minute and change to go in the third. Audi Crooks would answer a pair of Achol Akot free throws with a layup at the buzzer to keep the deficit at just one, 50-49 as we put the fours up and headed to the final quarter.

The Mya Burns Show that was the third quarter wouldn’t last, though, as instead, the fourth quarter was the Laila Jewett Show. The junior guard scored or assisted on 17 of the Knights 21 points in the close-out quarter, and she iced the game with a pair of free throws with eight seconds left, 71-66. The Cyclones just had no answer in the second half for Mya Burns and Laila Jewett. Despite the ability to push the ball inside (the Knight bigs were in foul trouble most of the game), they weren’t able to find a consistent rhythm of scoring. Audi Crooks had 15 points and 11 rebounds, Emily Ryan led all Cyclones with 18 (10-10 from the charity stripe), and Kelsey Joens added a nice 7 off the bench.

Iowa State returns to Hilton for a true “must have it” pair of matchups... and they’re no slouches... They take on #2 Kansas State and Oklahoma, currently the top two teams in the conference at 9-1 and 8-1 respectively. Going to need all of Cyclone Nation to show up and show out for these two! Hope to see you in Hilton on February 10th and 14th for an important as ever week of games!

Box Score

Iowa State Cyclones

UCF Golden Knights