AMES — Before practice on Sunday, Iowa State women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly put on the last four minutes of the Cyclones’ previous game.
It wasn’t a film session. It was a celebration.
Iowa State beat No. 6 Baylor 75-71 Saturday and he wanted to remind his team of the feeling before they moved on to Oklahoma (4-5, 1-3 Big 12), which Iowa State (9-4, 5-1) plays Tuesday at 6:30 in Hilton Coliseum (ESPN+).
“I think what happens, and I’m probably the worst, is the game ends and you’re immediately on to the next one,” Fennelly said. “It’s not fair to the kids. It’s the coaches’ job to move on — we were working on Oklahoma video five minutes into the plane ride home.
“But when you do what they did Saturday night, and they don’t get to celebrate it because of the (coronavirus) protocols? We watched the last four minutes of the game and enjoyed that.”
After they finished watching the end of the game, Fennelly put 75-71 on the scoreboards in the Sukup practice facility and let the team shoot free throws for 10 minutes and reminisce with each other about Saturday’s victory.
“I said, ‘When you’re shooting, look at that score, smile, laugh about it and celebrate it,’” Fennelly said. “As soon as the 10 minutes was done, the scoreboard went to zero and we’re on to Oklahoma. I just wanted to give them a moment, as a group, to celebrate and enjoy what they accomplished because it was a huge deal.”
The players appreciated the gesture.
“It was great to see that score again and celebrate our accomplishment of beating Baylor, at Baylor, which hasn’t happened in a very long time,” Iowa State star Ashley Joens said.
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A very long time is a bit of an understatement. No player on Iowa State’s current roster was born the last time Iowa State won at Baylor (1997). The Bears were riding a nation-leading 61-game home winning streak.
“We’ve brought a lot of great teams down here and didn’t even have a chance,” Fennelly said. “I told them at halftime that my speech at halftime is usually, ‘Let’s finish the game and have a little pride.’ (Saturday), we talked at halftime about winning the game.
“That’s the difference for this team and the growth of our kids — Ashley Joens on the biggest stage was amazing. Our freshmen, all three that started, were amazing. Baylor is a fantastic basketball team and hopefully our kids learned what they’re capable of if they put their mind to it.”
Joens took home Big 12 Player of the Week honors thanks to her performance. The junior from Iowa City had 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting and 12 rebounds.
She had 14 of her 27 points in the fourth quarter and scored 14 of Iowa State’s last 17 points.
“Ashley can play with anyone in the country,” Fennelly said. “If she was playing for Stanford or some other perennial top-five team, she’d probably be up for national player of the year.
Guard Emily Ryan took home Big 12 Freshman of the Week honors for her 15-point, five-rebound and three-assist performance.
“Historically, you could say it’s one of the greatest wins Iowa State has had in women’s basketball,” Fennelly said.
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