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Ashley Joens notches 62nd double-double as No. 23 Iowa State rolls past Texas Tech on Senior Day
Cyclones beat Red Raiders 76-52, are 3-seed in Big 12 tournament
AMES — A watch band. Several sweatshirt sleeves and two shoes. Young fans presented Iowa State star Ashley Joens with assorted items to be autographed after she played her last regular-season game at Hilton Coliseum on Saturday.
Unsurprisingly, she signed them all moments after recording her 62nd career double-double to help the No. 23 Cyclones lambast Texas Tech, 76-52, before a crowd of 11,858.
“I got the opportunity to come back another year and play with this team,” an uncharacteristically emotional Joens said after Senior Day festivities concluded. “And they mean so much. It’s sad to think it’s over, but we’ve got more to do here.”
Joens finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds. ISU led by as many as 32 points and notched eight first-half steals to build a commanding 43-24 edge at halftime. Junior Emily Ryan also notched a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. The Cyclones drained 10 3-pointers and went 16-for-17 from the free throw line to notch their fourth win in the past five games.
“Obviously this is a make-miss game and I joke with you guys all the time, and I’ve sat up here a lot and (said), ‘When you make a lot of shots, the press conferences seem to be a little bit easier,’” ISU head coach Bill Fennelly said. “I think if you’re taking the right shot by the right person at the right time, you live with the make and the miss.”
The Cyclones (19-9, 11-7) snared the No. 3 seed in next week’s Big 12 tournament in Kansas City. They’ll face the No. 6 seed in Friday’s 7:30 p.m. quarterfinal and hope to make at least as strong a run as they did last season, where they fell in the final to then-No. 7 Texas in overtime. And ISU’s 4-1 record down the stretch this season was sparked by a 66-61 win over the 12th-ranked Longhorns, so Fennelly believes his team is peaking at the right time.
“I think our schedule’s rated third in the country, so we’ve played lot of good teams all year,” said Fennelly, who guided the Cyclones to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2015 last season. “To go the the Big 12 tournament as a 3-seed and to hopefully hear your name on Selection Sunday night is a great thing. So it was a great day.”
Especially for Joens, whose tears also reflected the joy borne from a new beginning, not despair in one long chapter of her record-setting career ending.
“We’ve got a lot left to do and the season doesn’t start over, but it’s kind of a new season,” Joens said. “If you lose, you’re done, so you go out and give it all you can. Leave everything on the court.”