116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — There’s just one thing for a college basketball coach to do after a 50-point win.
That’s nitpick — and Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly obliged.
“The nitpicking part is true,” Fennelly said after the No. 8 Cyclones dispatched Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, 93-43, Tuesday night at Hilton Coliseum. “I don’t care what the score is. There’s always things that we have to do a lot better. Our attention to detail defensively, our offensive rebounds (have) got to get better. And obviously the past two games, we can’t make a 3.”
ISU (6-1) did struggle from beyond the arc for the second straight game, draining just 9 of 32 shots (28.1 percent) from long distance, but wholly outclassed the injury-plagued Cougars (0-6) in every other category to rebound from a tough 73-64 loss to sixth-ranked North Carolina Sunday at the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Ore.
“We rolled into (the) Sukup (Basketball Complex) at 6 in the morning (on Monday) and we practiced that afternoon for a very short time, but we were really engaged,” Fennelly said. “We talked a lot about what we need to do moving forward and I was probably more pleased yesterday than even today, to be honest with you, but we have that kind of group.”
Reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Lexi Donarski shook off early-season shooting woes and scored 22 points in 27 minutes. She also matched 6-6 forward Stephanie Soares with a game-high three steals while shooting 7-for-13 from the field and 6-of-6 from the free throw line.
“The team just was moving the ball really well,” Donarski said. “I think it was a great game to play after Portland and it was fun to come out here and play in front of our crowd.”
ISU recorded 23 assists on its 33 field goals and limited SIUE to 26.2 percent shooting. The Cyclones forced 11 turnovers in the first half alone and went 18 of 19 from the free-throw line, but as Fennelly noted, they weren’t able to knock down several open 3-point shots they’d normally make.
“We shot 32 tonight and we shot 35 the other night, and I’d say 60 of the 67 no one was near them,” Fennelly said. “That’s one thing we’ve got to get better at and I know we can because I’ve seen them make them.”
ISU point guard Emily Ryan scored 13 points on just six field goal attempts and dished out a game-high seven assists. Soares notched her fourth career double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) and the Cyclones had as many blocked shots as they did turnovers (seven apiece).
“Jut everyone contributing and helping each other out,” said Soares, who Monday was named the Big 12’s Offensive Player of the Week. “That’s what makes a great team.”
Fennelly’s convinced that’s what he has in this season’s team — all nitpicking aside. And a 50-point win against a thoroughly overmatched foe will be long forgotten when the Cyclones travel to Iowa City on Dec. 7 to face 10th-ranked Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“It’s like I’ve said many times, these in-state games are special,” Fennelly said. “And obviously they have a very, very good team.”