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Iowa State led Texas A&M for 40 minutes, 58 seconds on Wednesday.
The Cyclones shot a blistering 53 percent from 3-point range and made 16 3-pointers.
Iowa State out-rebounded one of the best rebounding teams in the SEC 50 to 38.
The four Cyclone freshmen combined for 37 points.
Ashley Joens had 32 points and 18 rebounds.
All the recipes for success were there but it wasn't enough for No. 7-seed Iowa State to beat No. 2-seed Texas A&M in an NCAA women's basketball tournament second-round game in San Antonio.
The Cyclones lost to the Aggies in overtime, 84-82 on a buzzer-beating layup by Jordan Nixon, who had 35 points.
Iowa State's Achilles' heel against Texas A&M was turnovers. The Cyclones turned the ball over 24 times.
'We turned the ball over too many times,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. 'We knew we'd turn it over against this defense but 24 times is a lot. We made some bad decisions in the open court but give A&M credit, they came after us and our players probably felt like there were six or seven defenders out there. They were so aggressive.
'We shot it really well, we shot free throws really well. It was certainly a game of two completely different styles of play but that's what makes this tournament so great.”
Texas A&M's physical defense allowed Iowa State to draw 20 fouls and shoot 15 free throws, compared to the 12 fouls called on Iowa State.
But during the last two minutes of the fourth quarter and the entire overtime, only three fouls were called between the two teams. One of those fouls was by Texas A&M to stop the clock.
With 10 seconds left in regulation, the ball was inbounded to Lexi Donarski who was immediately double teamed and even though no Texas A&M player actually touched the ball while Donarski had it, a jump ball was called.
'No,” Fennelly half-heartedly laughed when asked if he had a comment on that play. 'I'm not allowed to comment on that.”
The Aggies had the possession arrow and Nixon made the game-tying shot to send the game into overtime, tied at 75.
'Texas A&M is a physical team,” Joens said. 'We've played a few physical teams this season so we knew we'd have to stick our nose in there and battle. If we get knocked down, we needed to get back up and keep competing. And we did that.”
The other thing that hurt Iowa State down the stretch was Kristin Scott being out due to injury.
The Cyclones' starting center, who had been dealing with an injury, only played 13 minutes. She had 11 points on 3-for-4 shooting in those 13 minutes but she didn't play in the fourth quarter or overtime.
Not having Scott, arguably the second most important player on Iowa State's team given the lack of depth in the post, made Joens' night even more impressive for Fennelly, even in the loss.
'Anyone who watched Ashley Joens in this tournament that doesn't think she's one of the best players in the country, then you need to look at other sports,” Fennelly said. 'The kid is hard-nosed, competitive, she's playing with the backup center and the weight of this team is on her back every single night and she just keeps playing. She's amazing. Absolutely amazing. She does everything she can for her team to win and the numbers back that up.
'She got a chance on a national stage to show people who've never seen her what she's about and I'd bet they're pretty damn impressed with her.”
Ultimately, the Cyclones (17-11) had their chances but had too many turnovers and mistakes that young teams make, and Texas A&M (25-2) made plays down the stretch to win the game.
'I told our team in the locker room that this could've been one of our worst years for a lot of reasons,” Fennelly said. 'Everything from COVID, injuries - we didn't have our best guard all year (Maggie Espen-Miller McGraw), freshmen - a lot of things. But this team persevered and it turned out to be one of the best years ever. I'm very, very proud.
'I'm disappointed in the outcome but not disappointed at all in how our team played and how they represented our school. It was an honor to coach them.”
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