Iowa State women's basketball has few answers for No. 22 TCU's aggressive defense

Bill Fennelly: 'You can't win with 2 players'

Iowa State women's basketball head coach Bill Fennelly. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Iowa State women's basketball head coach Bill Fennelly. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

AMES — It’s hard to win a basketball game if only two players on a team play well.

Iowa State’s Bridget Carleton and Emily Durr combined for 33 points in the Cyclones’ 75-52 loss to No. 22 TCU on Tuesday in Hilton Coliseum.

Outside of Carleton and Durr, Iowa State (9-13, 3-8 Big 12) couldn’t find a rhythm offensively against TCU (16-5, 7-3).

The Horned Frogs used a physical half-court trap to stifle the Cyclones’ offense. Iowa State had a tendency to dribble into the traps and didn’t move the ball enough to move the zone.

“They’re a very aggressive defensive team,” Iowa State Coach Bill Fennelly said. “They have an extended zone and they played it very well. They get in the passing lanes and they chase the ball around.”

Durr and Carleton seemed to be the only Iowa State players to find holes in the zone.

Durr had 21 points on 7-for-15 shooting and Carleton had 12 points, five rebounds and four assists. She shot 5 of 12 from the field.

“I was very impressed with how Emily and Bridget played,” Fennelly said. “I thought they played their butts off for the 37 minutes they were in there.”

Carleton and Durr often used a two-woman game at the top of the key to initiate Iowa State’s offense.

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“We try to create off of each other and I thought the first half we did that really well,” Durr said. “We always like feeding off of each other and I’m glad I could knock down some shots.”

The rest of the team combined to go 8 of 28. Fennelly was looking for a third option, but no one stepped up.

“You can’t win with two players,” Fennelly said. “We had two players that gave us a chance and they didn’t get any help, and as a result, you’re going to struggle.”

Iowa State used Carleton in the middle of the zone to try to collapse it in on itself. The problem was she was often double-teamed.

“We had kids that didn’t want the ball,” Fennelly said. “We had kids that didn’t want to do anything with the ball. When Bridget is triple-teamed and she throws it to someone, you have to make a shot or you have to make a play. That’s not happening right now. When it’s not happening, that zone gets more aggressive, more physical, more extended — it just kind of feeds on itself.”

Iowa State was without forward Bride Kennedy-Hopoate, so TCU ran its offense ran through center Jordan Moore, who finished with 25 points, shooting 8 of 14.

Claire Rickets got the start in place of Kennedy-Hopoate.

“It was pretty intense (on the block),” Rickets said. “We tried fronting with back-side help. She got some easy buckets and she’s a good player, so I’ll give her credit for that, but at the same time, we don’t have an excuse for that. We have to continue to work and keep battling.”

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