116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — An assistant coach walked by Iowa State women’s basketball head coach Bill Fennelly after Thursday’s shootaround and offered this observation: “We didn’t miss a shot.”
A few hours later?
“We didn’t make anything,” Fennelly said after the No. 8 Cyclones struggled in multiple areas in a 79-55 win over Southern at Hilton Coliseum. “But that’s basketball and we’ve had back-to-back games where we haven’t shot the 3 well, but everyone on our team can shoot it. It just hasn’t gone in. Sometimes it’s contagious in a bad way.”
The good news for ISU (2-0) is its uncharacteristic long-range shooting woes have come in blowout wins.
The bad news: The Cyclones allowed the Jaguars (0-2) to shoot 44 percent from 3-point range one game after shooting 21.1 percent overall in a 53-point loss Monday at fourth-ranked Iowa.
“It took us a little bit to kind of get going and knock down some shots,” said ISU senior guard Ashley Joens, who notched her 51st career double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds, but missed all seven of her 3-point tries. “I know Ny(amer) Diew hit a 3-pointer in the corner that kind of helped our momentum, but the biggest thing we need to focus on is our defense. Our defense can help our offense, as well.”
The long-range basket from Diew that Joens referenced came after an 0-for-9 start from beyond the arc.
“I think I was the closest person to them when they missed it,” Fennelly said of those early misfires. “I think we shot four airballs.”
Lexi Donarski led the Cyclones with 22 points and Emily Ryan addd 19. Donarski drilled five of her 13 3-point attempts and Ryan went 1-for-2 from long distance. The rest of the team made just 2 of 18 shots from beyond the arc.
“(The) Jaguars play really hard and we know that, so it was a good team to have on our schedule, a team that does play hard,” Donarski said.
Fennelly said his team provided its usual maximum effort, but missing so many shots seemed to have an adverse impact on other aspects of the game.
“Again, it’s bad coaching on my part, but we did some things defensively that we’d never practiced since I’ve been the coach here,” Fennelly said. “But that’s gonna happen and you learn from it. You watch the video and hopefully get better from it.”
ISU outrebounded Southern, 50-23, but turned the ball over 14 times while forcing just seven.
“We have very mature kids and no one has to tell them they didn’t play the way they’re capable of playing,” Fennelly said. “No one. They already know it and that’s a good thing.”