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Ashley Joens era ends for Iowa State women’s basketball with first-round NCAA tournament loss to Toledo
12-seed Rockets upset 5-seed Cyclones, 80-73
The Ashley Joens era at Iowa State has ended.
The Cyclones’ all-time leading scorer and rebounder took the floor for what proved to be the last time in an ISU uniform Saturday, as her fifth-seeded team fell, 80-73, to 12th-seeded Toledo at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn.
“I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Joens told reporters after the game. “I love Iowa State, my teammate and my coaches. I’ve been blessed to play here.”
Joens scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to close her storied Cyclone career with her 65th double-double. Joens — like most of her ISU teammates — struggled to hit shots, finishing 5 of 19 from the field. The Cyclones (22-10) shot 34.9 percent overall and 19.4 percent from 3-point range while the Rockets (29-4) shot 48.4 from the field and 38.6 percent from long range.
“The game didn’t go well, but that doesn’t take away from what they did on a daily basis,” ISU head coach Bill Fennelly said of his team.
ISU (22-10) never led in the final three quarters, but pulled within five, at 78-73, on Denae Fritz’s 3-pointer with 29 seconds left. Toledo (29-4) sealed the win with a pair of Sophia Wiard free throws despite being held without a field goal for the final 3:40.
Joens finished her ISU career atop the record book in 11 statistical categories. She ranks ninth all-time in NCAA Division I women’s history in scoring with 3,060 points and helped the Cyclones post a program-record 25 wins last season. Joens also played a key role in ISU’s first Big 12 tournament title since 2001 and now looks forward to what should be a promising professional career.
Lexi Donarski added 12 points for ISU. Emily Ryan and Fritz scored 11 points apiece. Joens had a team-best two steals and matched the team-high with three assists to round out her strong, final effort as a Cyclone.
“Not the way we wanted the season to end, but looking back, it was a great five years,” Joens said.