AMES — Ashley Joens had a game to forget in last season’s Cy-Hawk women’s basketball matchup.
Joens had two points on 1-of-10 shooting, including a missed 3-pointer in the final seconds that would’ve sent the game into overtime.
She grew from that game and went on to have a terrific freshman season, earning a spot on the Freshman All-Big 12 team and averaging 11.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
This season, as Iowa State (6-1) hosts Iowa (6-2) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Hilton Coliseum, Joens, an Iowa City native, has grown into the Cyclones’ primary scorer.
“Ashely’s one of those players that us older coaches call an ‘old school baller,’” Iowa State Coach Bill Fennelly said. “The kid just loves to play and loves to practice. After last year, that’s a tough way for the game to end, especially in your hometown. But she has an amazing ability as a young player to not get too focused on what happened. She’s very good about moving on.”
The next morning, Joens was in the practice facility working on her game.
“It’s hard to describe but she moves on quickly,” Fennelly said. “She does not dwell on what’s good or bad. She doesn’t make excuses. She knows when she plays well and when she doesn’t play well and she just goes back to work no matter what. “It’s a very business-like approach.
“Most kids blow off a bad game and say, ‘It’s a game, we lost. Who cares?’ She didn’t do that. She came back and said, ‘Hey, it’s time to go.’ She knew what she needed to do. After that, it showed what she was capable of doing because she moved on the right way and had a really, really good year.”
Joens is averaging 22 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals this season.
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“I know she’ll be ready to go,” Fennelly said. “The way she practices will allow her to continue to develop. That’s a tribute to the kind of player and person she is.”
As a freshman, she was relegated to essentially a spot-up shooter for the Cyclones, shooting a team-high 197 3-point shots. She only took 129 shots from inside the arc.
This season, as Iowa State’s primary scorer, the sophomore is attacking the rim and scoring on all three levels. Joens has only attempted 29 3-pointers in seven games and has attempted 72 shots from inside the 3-point line.
“You hope that’s what all your players do,” Fennelly said. “As a freshman they do certain things that they’re comfortable with and then you progress as a player and as a person and as a student. For Ashley, we told her at the end of the year that she’d have to do things on another level. And she agreed. Scoring at every level, getting to the free-throw line and offensive rebound — all the things we lost with Bridget (Carleton), Alexa (Middleton), Meredith (Burkhall). We needed someone else to come and do that and I think her versatility is huge.
“She’s not Bridget but we’re trying to play her in a similar style. Obviously she’s off to a really good start. Hopefully that’ll continue.”
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