Iowa State Cyclones

Drake thwarts Iowa State women's basketball's comeback bid

Cyclones rally from 17 down but fall, 86-81

Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly. (The Gazette)
Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly. (The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Iowa State’s spirited comeback against Drake fell short on Sunday thanks to clutch baskets from the Bulldogs.

The Cyclones trailed by as many as 17 points and came storming back, led by the duo of Ashley Joens and Kristin Scott, before falling 86-81 at the Knapp Center.

“You get to a point in the game and you have to make a decision,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “We were down 17 points and getting run out of the building. We were feeling a little sorry for ourselves. We picked up the pace offensively and made some shots.”

Joens had a slow start to the game, shooting 1 of 7 from the field. She finished with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. Even though Joens’ scoring wasn’t consistent early in the game, she still impacted the game in other areas. She added nine rebounds, five assists and a block to her scoring total.

“I was getting my teammates the ball so they could knock down shots so we could stay in the game,” Joens said of her play early in the game. “Then I tried to do my part to get stops on the defensive end to try and stay in it that way until my offense got going.”

Fennelly said the reason Joens found her offense was she started getting more aggressive. She was driving to the hoop and putting pressure on the Drake interior.

Scott, who was on a 15-minute restriction against Southern last week due to a back injury, played 21 minutes on Sunday.

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The junior made the most of the minutes, pouring in 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor and 4-of-5 from 3-point range. She also had four rebounds and a block.

Scott, Iowa State’s center, made two 3-pointers in the final minute to keep Iowa State within reach of Drake.

“When I play, I try to make my back unnoticeable,” Scott said. “Coach said a few words to me at the end there and I knew we needed some points, so that boosted my confidence and I knew what the team needed at that time.”

Fennelly said the goal was to get Scott 20 minutes in this game to ease her back into the swing of things.

“Twenty-two points in 21 minutes — she changes our team,” Fennelly said. “It’s good to know that she’s coming back — no pun intended. She changes our team and creates spacing that’s really hard for other teams to guard. When we don’t have her in there, there’s a lot more congestion. She’ll be fine and we don’t play for nine days, so we’ll get her some rest.

“I kept asking her what she wanted to do, and she always said, ‘I’m fine. I can go.’”

Sara Rhine led the Bulldogs with 23 points, hitting 10 of 13 shots.

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