AMES — Effort and execution are the two biggest pieces of how Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly determines if his team is being as successful as it can be.
Unfortunately for the Cyclones, they are lacking a great deal in one of the two areas and dropped their fifth-straight game because of it.
“The effort I have no problem with,” Fennelly said. “Our execution isn’t what it needs to be at either end of the floor on a consistent basis for us to win games against a really good team.”
Iowa State fell to No. 20 Oklahoma 77-71 and lost for the fifth time in as many games for the first time since 2011-12.
Shooting woes continued to trouble the Cyclones (11-9, 3-6) when they shot just 8-for-30 in the second half. The Sooners (15-5, 6-3) shot 45 percent for the game and scored 36 points in the paint, at times taking advantage of the young ISU frontcourt.
The losing streak has certainly been hard for Iowa State to stomach, but players don’t feel like it has splintered the locker room.
“Tough times don’t last but tough people do,” said Seanna Johnson, who had a game-high 18 points and 12 rebounds. “I think as a team, we’re pretty tough. Every team has their downfalls and every team has their moments where they go on stretches of losing, but it’s those special teams that come out ready and more focused.”
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Oklahoma jumped ahead by eight points early, but Iowa State used a 14-4 run to lead 23-21 mid-way through the second quarter. The Sooners went ahead by three late in the half, but the Cyclones responded with a 10-0 run to close the half and lead 35-28 at the break.
After halftime, Oklahoma used a 2-3 zone to slow the ISU offense and interchanged a 1-3-1 zone with man-to-man defense to hold the Cyclones to just 27 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes. Jadda Buckley, Bridget Carleton and Emily Durr all joined Johnson in double figures with 16, 15 and 10 points, respectively.
Johnson reached 1,000 career points Saturday and became the 28th player in school history to reach the milestone. Buckley said it’s Johnson’s intangibles that have made some of the difference in her career trajectory.
“Her intelligence on the court (is high),” Buckley said. “You just look at her and she’s so athletic. As a point guard you love to play with somebody like Seanna because you know you can pass her the ball, she’s going to catch it and she’s going to get open for you.”
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