AMES — Ashley Joens turned in a historic performance on Sunday against Wright State.
The sophomore from Iowa City scored 41 points, which tied for second all-time in Iowa State history with Lindsey Wilson, who did it in 2003 against Colorado. The record is 42 points by Toyna Burns in 1984 against Nebraska.
Iowa State beat Wright State 79-71 behind Joens’ impressive performance.
“You just keep playing and get after the ball and good things will happen,” Joens said, simply. “If you get stops on defense, that’ll turn into good offense.”
She shot 12 for 23 from the field, 2 of 4 from 3-point range and 15 for 16 from the free-throw line. She also added 13 rebounds, four assists and two steals. Joens’ 15 made free throws was also one short of Iowa State’s single-game free throw record, set by Angie Welle against Nebraska in 2002.
“With all of the great scorers we’ve had, they had an ability to create offense in a variety of ways — Ashley is no different,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “Ashley got eight offensive rebounds and no one on our team got more than two. Sometimes it’s skill, but sometimes — and I know this is cliche and boring — you just play your butt off and good things happen. That kid plays really, really hard.
“She’s hard to guard, she has an offensive mindset — you’re not going to say she’s a pure shooter because her numbers might not be perfect, but how do you guard her? We can post her up, play her on the perimeter, let her drive. It’s the idea that, ‘At the end of the day, I’m just going to out-work people.’ In the women’s game, offensive rebounds are about who wants the ball more. A lot of times for our team and the other team, it’s Ashley Joens.”
Joens didn’t even realize she was having a particularly extraordinary night until the final seconds when she made her 14th and 15th free throws.
“I didn’t know how many points I had until the end when I made my last free throw and everyone started cheering,” Joens said. “That’s when I looked up and saw it. But I just keep on playing, I don’t really think about anything else.”
Fennelly wants more of his players to have a mindset like Joens has.
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“As a player, when things go bad, you have to play through it,” Fennelly said. “Ashley Joens starts the second half 0-for-5. She didn’t quit playing. We have some kids right now that when things don’t go well, they stop. We have to keep going. We have to find another way.”
Fennelly compared Joens to a running back.
“When you draw 15 fouls in a game, that number is staggering,” Fennelly said. “She’s hard to guard, she’s physical, she plays through contact. She’s like the running back who gets hit and just keeps running. She gets hit a lot. But she’s a physical kid. We have to get her some more 3-point looks because she’s going to see a lot of double teams coming up.”
It’s either that or find a bona fide second option.
Kristin Scott had 12 points on 2-of-5 shooting and 8-for-8 shooting from the free-throw line. Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw had 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting.
“Ashley was a monster and played a phenomenal game,” Fennelly said. “Ashley continues to do some really special things and hopefully we can find her some help.”
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