AMES — The No. 22 Iowa State women’s basketball team hasn’t lost since the Iowa game on Dec. 5.
Coach Bill Fennelly still remembers what he told his team that night.
“This team’s time is coming.”
It appears the time has come. The Cyclones have rattled off seven wins in a row and Wednesday night, Iowa State beat TCU, 92-54.
“This is a really special group of kids,” Fennelly said. “I’ve been blessed to have a lot of those during my time here, and this is another one of those groups. They get it. They understand. They completely have a ‘We-over-Me’ mentality. We have some new people that have bought in quickly and then your sophomores are better.
“Like I keep saying, we have the best player in the league on our team. I’m sure that’ll be debated for forever but for what she’s doing for our team, at this moment in time, is unlike anything I’ve ever seen here in a long time.”
That player is All-American Bridget Carleton. The senior from Canada is nightly a triple-double threat and she had 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists Wednesday. Defensively, she had three steals and one block.
“This team is much more talented (than last year’s team), but they’re also much more connected,” Fennelly said. “Last year, we watched Bridget play; this year, we’re playing with Bridget. You can go down the list tonight and pick out anyone you want. They all did something at both ends of the floor that positively impacted success.”
One of the biggest pieces of success for Iowa State (13-2, 3-0 Big 12) was Iowa City High grad Ashley Joens. The freshman scored 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field and 5-of-9 shooting from 3-point range. She added nine rebounds to her stat line and no turnovers in 31 minutes.
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Joens only scored two points against Iowa on 1-of-10 shooting. Her turnaround coincided with the team’s.
Since the Iowa game, she’s shooting 62 percent from the field and 53 percent from 3-point range.
“I’m definitely more comfortable to just to go out and play,” Joens said. “It feels like every other game now. I don’t think about anything else that’s going on. I just go out and play.”
One of the biggest keys to Iowa State’s win over TCU (11-3, 1-2) was its defense. The Cyclones have been good all season on that end of the floor, but they were especially good Wednesday.
Iowa State held TCU’s best player, Jordan Moore, to just three shot attempts. Only one TCU player was in double-digit scoring and it was Kianna Ray, who had 10 points on 10 shot attempts.
“This team can defend,” Fennelly said. “I feel bad for the kids. Because of the way we play, we don’t get credit for being a great defensive team because we’re not up in your grill, we’re not turning you over. But we’re a very scouting-report defense. Jordan Moore only got eight points because she was the focus of the defense.
“That’s team defense, that’s not one person. Defense isn’t just something to do until we get the ball back for this team.”
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