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When Ashley Joens entered the locker room after Iowa State's NCAA women's basketball tournament first-round game against Michigan State on Monday, she was mobbed.
Joens, the star Cyclone, scored more points than she had minutes played.
The junior set a new Iowa State record for points scored in an NCAA tournament game with 33 points and she did it in just 29 minutes due to foul trouble. The old record of 31 was held by Bridget Carleton.
Joens' big night helped lift the No. 7-seed Cyclones past the No. 10-seed Michigan State, 79-75, at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
'They're both players that carry teams,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said of Joens and Carleton. 'That's what you see in this tournament, the great players that play great on the greatest stage. Bridget did it and Ashley did it tonight.
'We've had a stretch where we've had two of the most dynamic, hard to guard scorers that you can find. And the thing about it is that they are team-first players. It's not about scoring points for them, it's about winning games. When you walk in the locker room and everybody jumps all over Ashely, they're jumping all over her because she scored 33 points, yes. But they're really jumping all over her because they love her and they appreciate who she is.”
Joens reciprocated the appreciation her teammates have for her.
'My teammates did a great job of getting me the ball in good positions,” Joens said, 'and Coach is always setting up plays that puts us all in a great position to score.”
Joens missed most of the second quarter and the final three minutes of the third quarter with foul trouble.
'I told her before the game, you have to get 40 if they don't double team you,” Fennelly said. 'And I think she could've gotten 40 if she didn't get in foul trouble.”
While she was on the bench, Maddie Wise stepped up and was as impactful as she's been all season.
Wise had nine points in the first half in relief and that production led to her starting the second half
The senior finished the game with a double-double with 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting and 11 rebounds in 36 minutes.
'I thought Maddie Wise might've played the best game she's ever played at Iowa State,” Fennelly said. 'She was incredible in the first half when Ashely was on the bench.”
Iowa State had several key role players step up and help.
Defensively, freshman Lexi Donarski held Michigan State's Nia Couden to 16 points but maybe more importantly, limited her to just nine field goal attempts. Offensively, Kristin Scott, who is dealing with injury, gave the Cyclones 23 minutes and scored 12 points on 4-for-6 shooting.
But make no mistake, Iowa State is advancing to the second round Wednesday No. 2-seed Texas A&M (time and TV to be announced) in large part because of Joens.
'We're running out of words,” Fennelly said. 'For her to do it on this stage, the country got to see it, and that's a good thing. She plays at a program that doesn't get the attention of other national brands but the people in our region know how good she is.
'To play against a really good Big Ten team in the NCAA tournament on ESPN at the Alamodome, it was a great individual showcase for her. And it was a showcase that impacted our team in a positive way as well.”
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