AMES — For the past two seasons, Iowa State women’s basketball has been the Bridget Carleton show.
That’s not a bad thing, necessarily. One could argue it’s still the Bridget Carleton show.
The difference is Carleton has a supporting cast around her this season to help take the load off. And the 22nd-ranked Cyclones’ record has improved because of it.
Iowa State went 14-17 overall with a 7-11 Big 12 record last season. This season, Iowa State is 15-5 overall and 5-3 in the conference and two Cyclones not named Bridget Carleton took home the most recent Big 12 Player of the Week and Big 12 Freshman of the Week honors.
Sophomore forward Kristin Scott had a game for the record books in Saturday’s 84-71 win at Oklahoma State. She went 11 for 11 from the field, 7 for 7 from 3-point range and 2 for 2 from the free-throw line. She scored 31 points in 29 minutes and capped off her perfect night with a game-high 12 rebounds.
“We have high expectations for Kristin but that’s one of those games that she may never duplicate,” Iowa State Coach Bill Fennelly said. “She’s capable of doing those types of things. She’s certainly solidified our team and given us another offensive weapon. That’s really important when you have someone like Bridget on your team, to have another option might open up the court a little more and it makes it really hard to focus on one player.”
In Big 12 play, the 6-foot-4 Scott is averaging 15.8 points while shooting 69 percent from the field and 61 percent from 3-point range.
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Another player that’s taking the focus off of Carleton is Big 12 Freshman of the Week Ashley Joens.
Joens had 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting and seven rebounds against Oklahoma State last week while playing all 40 minutes. Joens averages 12 points per game.
Joens, an Iowa City High grad, has grown throughout the season. She’s developed a more balanced offensive game and Fennelly is liking what he sees from her on defense.
“At the beginning of the year it was, ‘Stand over there, we’ll throw it to you, and when we do, shoot it,’” Fennelly said. “The other night, she had two or three baskets around the rim. We’re trying to encourage her to get the ball and attack the basket because she has an ability to find a way to score. Defensively, she’s been good. We’ve asked her to guard some really good players and she’s competed well.
“The other night, she went all 40 minutes, and there was never one time during the game that I had a thought to take her out. That means you’re doing things at both ends of the floor. Now, the challenge will be, can she finish it?”
Fennelly said this is usually the time of year that freshmen hit a wall because they’re used to their season being almost over. But he did say he’s not too concerned with Joens hitting that wall.
Iowa State hosts a struggling Texas Tech (10-9, 1-7) team at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. But all of Iowa State’s Big 12 games except last Wednesday’s 84-69 loss to No. 3 Baylor have been within eight points. Fennelly said the Red Raiders won’t be taken lightly.
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