Defense stout, but Iowa State women's basketball comes up short against Iowa

Cyclones fall to 0-3 against in-state rivals in 2017 with 61-55 loss Wednesday

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AMES – The Iowa State women’s basketball team failed to close out another game on Wednesday.

Iowa State had Iowa on the ropes in the final minute at Hilton Coliseum, cutting the Hawkeyes’ lead down to one with 28 seconds left. But the Cyclones failed to make their open looks.

Iowa State had three open shots from 3-point range on its final possession, but all of them missed the mark.

Iowa State fell to Iowa, 61-55.

“It’s tough,” Iowa State guard Bridget Carleton said. “I think we did a really good job on the defensive end today, much better than we have been, but then we weren’t able to convert on offense. We didn’t shoot very well, and I didn’t shoot well at all from the field, so that hurt us.”

The Cyclones shot just 29.5 percent from the field and 29.6 percent from 3-point range.

Carleton, Iowa State’s best player, shot 3-of-16 from the field and 0-for-5 from 3. She also fouled out in the closing seconds.

“Basketball is a game of shooters and makers,” Fennelly said. “We were shooting it tonight, we just weren’t making it. When you shoot 29 percent, I don’t care who you play, especially against a quality opponent, you’re not going to win.”

It was a snowball effect for Iowa State.

“What happens when you’re not making shots, then no one wants to shoot,” Fennelly said. “We got caught standing around saying, ‘I’m not going to shoot because it’s not my night.’ Well someone’s got to shoot and unfortunately, it was not anyone’s night tonight.”

The reason Iowa State stayed in the game was because of its defensive effort.

The Hawkeyes shot 38 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3-point range.

The Cyclones limited Megan Gustafson to 16 points and 14 rebounds, eight points below her season average. Iowa State fronted her the entire game and the Cyclones post players, especially Bride Kennedy-Hopoate, made sure she knew they were there.

“I wasn’t afraid of the challenge,” Kennedy-Hopoate said. “I wanted to shut her down. I knew she had really good sets. I think I did pretty well on her.”

Another key piece to the Cyclones’ defense was Carleton. While it wasn’t her night shooting, her ability to defend multiple positions kept Iowa State in the game.

Fennelly had no problem with Iowa State’s effort, he’s just disappointed they weren’t rewarded with a win.

“The thing that you feel bad about Bridget is, there’s no one on this team that has more on her shoulders,” Fennelly said. “It’s almost unfair what she has to do. And when it doesn’t go well – I promise you there is one person in our locker room crying and it’s No. 21. That’s because of what she thinks of herself and what she means to her teammates. We’re not even in the game if Bridget’s not playing. We’re not even having this discussion.

“Unfortunately for her, the last shot doesn’t go in. I wouldn’t trade her for anyone. She’s that kind of kid. Playing 38 minutes a night and banging in side with those guys is tough. Obviously, a tough night shooting for her, but she’s the reason we were in the game.”

l Comments: benv43@gmail.com

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