AMES — Former Iowa City High prep Ashely Joens looked the part of a primary scorer on Thursday.
The sophomore was the only Cyclone in double figures, scoring 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting and 3-of-7 from 3-point range in a 69-36 win over Southern (0-1) at Hilton Coliseum.
Joens started off as hot as a shooter could be. She made her first four shots in the first three minutes of the game to net 10 early points.
“Coming out, my teammates got me involved when I was open,” Joens said. “To knock those down to give us a good start was big. Then as the game went on, my teammates started knocking down their shots as well.”
Last season, with Bridget Carleton the primary option on offense, Joens was mostly a spot-up 3-point shooter. In the offseason Joens knew she would become the primary scorer, so she worked on scoring at all three levels — at the rim, midrange and 3-point range.
Her work paid off Thursday. She only missed one shot inside the 3-point line.
“Being able to score on all three levels tonight was positive,” Joens said.
The problem for Iowa State (1-0) was when Joens wasn’t scoring, it didn’t have much offense. Kristin Scott had a minutes restriction because she’s still recovering from a back injury, so the offense struggled even more.
Taking out Joens’ and Scott’s production — Scott had eight points, six rebounds and four blocks in her 15 minutes — Iowa State shot just 13 for 29 from the field and 3 for 13 from 3-point range. Even with Joens and Scott, Iowa State still shot just 6 of 22 from 3-point range.
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“Six-for-22 isn’t going to cut it,” Fennelly said. “When we have open shots, we have to start making them. We stat every practice and it’s been a problem. We have kids who can make it but you have to do it consistently.
“Last year’s team was a little more aesthetically pleasing than this year’s team. This year’s team has to do it the old-fashioned way and just grind it out. Part of that is defending. We’re going to have to defend like crazy.”
Iowa State defended extremely well on Thursday. Southern shot just 21 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from 3-point range.
The Cyclones blocked 11 shots and had six steals. Joens had a career-high three steals.
“We’ve been working on defense a lot — ball pressure, guarding the ball, on and off the ball defense,” point guard Rae Johnson said. “We’ve been putting in a lot of work and I think we did a great job.”
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