By Anthony Hanson
AMES – Iowa State snapped a five-year losing streak against its biggest rival
Wednesday night at a packed Hilton Coliseum.
The No. 15 Cyclones handed No. 12 Iowa its second loss of the season by a score of 77-70.
After scoring 30 points apiece in last season’s contest, all eyes were on Iowa State’s Ashley Joens and Iowa’s Caitlin Clark. The former AAU teammates did not disappoint as they both traded baskets the whole way and each ended with a game-high 26-points.
Clark drilled four three-point field goals for the Hawkeyes including a buzzer-beater out of a time-out to end the third quarter. Clark is the Big Ten’s leading scorer but was held to 38 percent from the field, well below her average of 43 percent.
For Iowa State, Ashley Joens grabbed 11 rebounds, five on the offensive end, and consistently found her open teammates by notching six assists. Joens grabbed the last rebound of the game and nailed the game-clinching free throws.
“It means a lot just with all of our fans here. It was a great atmosphere,” Joens said. “Everyone on the team contributed and really impacted success.”
The senior and Iowa City native notched her first career win against the Hawkeyes on Wednesday night. Losing three matchups with the Hawkeyes in heartbreaking fashion, added to the celebration Wednesday night, the senior said after the game.
Lexi Donarski added 16 points and Aubrey Joens earned another double-double as the Cyclones improved to 9-1 on the season. Donarski and Joens combined to shoot 6 of 13 from the outside, firing up the packed Hilton Coliseum crowd each time.
“The adrenaline really just rushes. Hilton is a very, very special place to play it and I think tonight was the first time that my class has really experienced a packed gym here,” Lexi Donarski said. “And it was a lot of fun.”
In postgame remarks, both coaches mentioned the state of women’s basketball in the state of Iowa.
“I told our kids before the game, the environment in this game would be better than any college game in the country,” Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said.
Over 11,000 fans were in attendance for the highly anticipated matchup and both fan bases were engaged from start to finish.
Iowa’s record fell to 5-2 with the loss.
“When you don’t shoot free throws, it’s hard to win a game. I felt like we should have been shooting a lot more, that’s my opinion on it” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said.
Iowa State shot 22 free throws to Iowa’s six. The Hawkeyes drew only 12 fouls and Iowa State drew 20.
The Iowa State defense also limited the Hawkeye attack to just two fast breakpoints and the Hawkeyes scored 14-points under their season average of 84.
Iowa has now lost two of its last three games after returning from a 17-day program stoppage due to COVID-19.
“When you take 17 days off, it’s going to make a difference, right?” Bluder said.
No. 15 Iowa State will take the court next against another in-state rival on Dec. 12 against Northern Iowa. The Cyclones will look to go a perfect 4-0 against in-state opponents.