2019 NCAA TOURNAMENT

Everyone scores for Iowa State in first-round NCAA women's basketball rout

No. 3-seed Cyclones win first NCAA Tournament game since 2013, 97-61 over No. 14 New Mexico State

Iowa State Coach Bill Fennelly and players Ashley Joens, Bridget Carleton, Madison Wise, Alexa Middleton and Rae Johnson celebrate from the bench during the fourth quarter of an NCAA women's basketball tournament first round game at Hilton Coliseum on Saturday, March 23, 2019, in Ames, Iowa. (Photo by Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune)
Iowa State Coach Bill Fennelly and players Ashley Joens, Bridget Carleton, Madison Wise, Alexa Middleton and Rae Johnson celebrate from the bench during the fourth quarter of an NCAA women's basketball tournament first round game at Hilton Coliseum on Saturday, March 23, 2019, in Ames, Iowa. (Photo by Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune)
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AMES — First one out of the way. The No. 3-seed Iowa State women’s basketball team began the 2019 NCAA women’s basketball tournament with four players in double figures and a 97-61 rout of No. 14-seed New Mexico State in a first-round game before 6,503 fans on Saturday at Hilton Coliseum.

“The NCAA is supposed to be fun and today was fun,” Iowa State Coach Bill Fennelly said. “Fun for our players, hopefully fun for the fans, phenomenal crowd, phenomenal atmosphere. The best part about it is we get to play again and we’re looking forward to playing Monday night. Very proud of our team.”

The victory was the first tournament win for Iowa State since 2013, and its point total was the largest since 2001 (100). Iowa State (26-8) will host a second-round game on Monday at 8 p.m. against No. 11-seed Missouri State (24-9), an 89-78 upset winner over No. 6-seed DePaul.

The Cyclones had to wait 12 days between the end of the Big 12 tournament and the start of the NCAAs. They have a much quicker turnaround this time as they try to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2010.

“It felt really good to play a game,” Iowa State senior guard Bridget Carleton said. “Getting back into the rhythm of it is so fun and to play at Hilton is great. We’re excited to get that win under our belts and to play on Monday. We’re just looking forward to it.”

Carleton was her usual brilliant self against the Aggies. The reigning Big 12 Player of the Year led all scorers with 23 points and made 6 of 9 field goal attempts. She also posted seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal.

“Bridget is a great player,” Fennelly said. “Everyone on this team is connected and I think they all appreciate what each other has done for this team.”

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All 12 Iowa State players scored in the game. Senior point guard Alexa Middleton scored 15 points and distributed a team-high nine assists. Former Iowa City High prep Ashley Joens chipped in 14 points with eight rebounds, while sophomore center Kristin Scott added 12 points and eight rebounds.

The loudest ovation of the night might have been with 32 seconds left in the game on a basket from Australian freshman Lauren Mills, her second this season.

“It just shows a lot about our team, how excited we got right there when Lauren scored,” Middleton said. “We just had a lot of fun together. … It was really fun tonight.”

Iowa State led by as many as 42 points in the game. Senior forward Ines Nezerwa grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds.

The loss snapped a 17-game win streak for New Mexico State, which ends its season at 26-7. Senior Brooke Salas led the Aggies with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

“They have length and size,” New Mexico State Coach Brooke Atkinson said of Iowa State. “At certain times we let them get on runs, but my kids never gave up until the end.”

Women’s basketball

NCAA TOURNAMENT

First round

At Hilton Coliseum

No. 3 Iowa State 97, No. 14 New Mexico State 61

NEW MEXICO STATE (61): Brooke Salas 6-16 4-4 18, Dominique Mills 0-4 0-0 0, Monique Mills 2-4 0-0 6, Adenike Aderinto 1-3 0-0 2, Gia Pack 5-20 3-4 16, Pam Wilmore 0-1 0-0 0, Stabresa McDaniel 1-4 0-0 2, Baylee Robinson 0-1 0-0 0, Kalei Atkinson 3-6 3-4 10, Aaliyah Prince 3-14 1-2 7, Tayelin Grays 0-4 0-0 0, Aissatou Fall 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 21-77 11-14 61.

IOWA STATE (97): Madison Wise 4-7 0-0 9, Bridget Carleton 6-9 8-8 23, Ashley Joens 5-11 2-3 14, Kristin Scott 5-9 2-2 12, Alexa Middleton 5-11 4-4 15, Rae Johnson 1-1 0-0 2, Nia Washington 0-2 1-2 1, Jade Thurmon 0-4 2-2 2, Adriana Camber 2-5 0-0 6, Lauren Mills 1-1 0-0 2, Ines Nezerwa 3-7 0-0 6, Meredith Burkhall 2-3 1-2 5, Totals 34-70 20-23 97.

New Mexico State 16 10 18 17—61

Iowa State 23 27 30 17—97

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Halftime — Iowa State, 50-26. Three-point goals — New Mexico State 8-26 (Pack 3-9, M. Mills 2-4, Salas 2-5, Atkinson 1-4, Grays 0-1, Prince 0-3), Iowa State 9-23 (Carleton 3-4, Camber 2-4, Joens 2-4, Middleton 1-2, Wise 1-3, Scott 0-2, Thurmon 0-2, Washington 0-2). Rebounds — New Mexico State 33 (Salas 12), Iowa State 59 (Nezerwa 14). Assists — New Mexico State 10 (Salas 5), Iowa State 22 (Middleton 9). Turnovers — New Mexico State 8, Iowa State 12. Total fouls — New Mexico State 21, Iowa State 16. Fouled out — Grays. A — 6,503.

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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