AMES — In a battle of gale-force winds between the Iowa State Cyclones and the No. 24 Miami Hurricanes, the Cyclones’ wind blew stronger to the tune of a 75-52 blowout in the championship game of the Preseason WNIT Sunday at Hilton Coliseum.
Iowa State’s Bridget Carleton earned Preseason WNIT MVP honors, averaging 18.6 points, 12 rebounds and six assists over the four-game tournament.
“It’s cool to win a championship — preseason or postseason,” Carleton said. “Obviously, every game is important but the fact we won, step-by-step, four games in a row to win a tournament is really special.”
Madison Wise was also named to the all-tournament team.
Iowa State (4-0) didn’t have one player dominate the championship game against Miami (4-1). Six players scored nine or more points and no Cyclone scored more than 15.
Carleton finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists; Ines Nezerwa finished with 15 points and six rebounds; Wise finished with nine points, six rebounds and three assets and Iowa City native Ashley Joens finished with nine points and four rebounds.
The Cyclones used a 12-0 first quarter run to jump out in front and never looked back.
“We talked about winning four quarters,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “We did that today for the first time in a long time. That’s a tribute to the kids. You just keep playing. I thought our team today did that for the first time maybe all season.”
Iowa State sent a message to the rest of the women’s basketball world that this isn’t the same Cyclones team that failed to make the NCAA Tournament last season.
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“This team is completely different than last year’s team,” Fennelly said. “It is completely different than maybe any team we’ve had here in 10 years. You can just see it. You see it on the bench. You see it in practice. You see just the way they really, really do care about one another and enjoy playing together.
“Obviously, when you’re winning, everything’s easier. We’ll see when we get beat and how they act. I keep my notes from every practice that I’ve ever coached here and I kind of rate how it went. We’ve had one bad practice since we started, and it wasn’t bad because of their attitude, we just didn’t get anything done like I thought. The way they respond and with the new kids following the lead, we have the best leadership we’ve had here in a long time.”
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