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Ashley Joens scores 32 points, leads No. 18 Iowa State to 86-78 win over No. 14 Oklahoma
Cyclones in first place in Big 12, a game ahead of Sooners
AMES — Ashley Joens laughed — and for good reason.
Iowa State’s star senior chuckled briefly during Saturday’s postgame news conference because she played one of the better games of her storied career in the No. 18 Cyclones’ 86-78 win over No. 14 Oklahoma at Hilton Coliseum.
“You just release the ball and it goes in,” said Joens, who scored a conference season-high 32 points on 10-for-22 shooting. “I don’t even know how to describe it. You’re just in the flow.”
Joens needed to settle into a game-changing rhythm in the first half and her state of flow never wavered. She went on a personal 8-0 run in the second quarter and helped first-place ISU (15-4, 7-2) erase an early 10-point deficit to pull even at halftime, 42-42. She also drew nine foul calls and drilled eight of the Cyclones’ 30 made free throws.
“She’s obviously a very decorated player,” said Sooners coach Jennie Baranczyk, whose team fell to 16-4 overall and 6-3 in Big 12 play. “She’s very talented. I’ve seen her, good God, since she was probably 12 and know she’s good. We all knew she was good.”
So is Oklahoma senior Taylor Robertson, who went 6-for-8 from 3-point range and became the most prolific long-range shooter in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history. Robertson scored a team-high 25 points and passed Kelsey Mitchell on the all-time 3-point chart. She now has hit 503 career 3-pointers — and has drained at least one in 62 consecutive games.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever coached against a kid that you’re surprised when they miss,” Cyclones head coach Bill Fennelly said. “I mean, she took 10 shots and goes 6-for-8 from the 3-point line. There’s people, men or women, who can’t go 6-for-8 from the 3-point line if nobody’s in the building.”
Joens’ dazzling performance along with Robertson’s historic effort unfolded before the largest ISU home crowd of the season (11,568).
“Hilton bought a lot of energy,” said Joens, who scored 30 or more points in a game for the 17th time in her record-setting career. “It was a lot of fun.”
But not always. The Sooners reeled off eight straight points after halftime to take a 50-42 lead, but the Cyclones responded with a 21-3 run capped by a pair of free throws from Lexi Donarski that put ISU up 63-53 late in the third quarter. Robertson drew Oklahoma back within one possession with a rare four-point play with 4:32 left, but the Cyclones closed out the win by attacking the basket and sinking 30 of 34 foul shots.
“I think we did a really good job, at times, of reading their defense and finding the open (player),” said ISU post player Morgan Kane, who scored 11 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. “And I think that led to our success tonight.”
Five different Cyclones scored in double figures. Joens, of course, shined brightest, just as she did while scoring 27 points in a narrow 82-79 loss to the Sooners in Norman.
“When she plays like that, we’re pretty dang good,” Fennelly said.