Takeaways: Cyclones open their Big 12 season with a blowout

Iowa State senior Madison Wise plays defense against TCU on Dec. 2 in Fort Worth, Texas. Iowa State won 91-68.

Megan Teske

In Iowa State women’s basketball’s Big 12 opener against TCU, it blew away the Horned Frogs in a 91-68 win.

The Cyclones set the tone early on in the game, only letting up early on in the third quarter when the Horned Frogs got within 14, however they didn’t let it be enough as that was the closest TCU would get the rest of the game.

Strong Start

The Cyclones set the pace early on in the game, ending the first quarter up 28-10 over the Horned Frogs.

Iowa State came into the game and poured in 10 straight points without allowing TCU to score.

Iowa State’s freshmen started the game with the first points, with guard Emily Ryan draining a 3-pointer for the first points of the game followed by guard Kylie Feuerbach getting a jumper for two more.

Head Coach Bill Fennelly, who was back for the game, said the team talked about starting a tough stretch in December on a positive note, and they did that against TCU.

“Our kids were organized, ready to play, and from offense and defense both, I could not be more proud of the way we played against a team that really gets after you defensively,” Fennelly said.

Against a team that this season has allowed 66 points per game and last season allowed 64.8 points per game, Iowa State was shooting 63.16 percent on field goals and 44.44 percent on 3-pointers in the first quarter and 50 percent on field goals and 55.56 percent on 3-pointers in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, TCU was shooting just 20 percent on field goals and 0 percent (0-4) on 3-pointers in the first quarter, but picked it up to 47.06 percent and 40 percent, which allowed Iowa State to get out to a strong 54-32 lead at half.

Fennelly gets his season opener

This was the first game Head Coach Bill Fennelly had been at since he was previously in self-quarantine for the first two games after being exposed to someone who had tested positive for COVID-19.

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shortened the quarantine guidelines for how long someone has to quarantine for people that are close contact the day of the TCU game, Fennelly said he hopped on a flight to Fort Worth, Texas, to get down there.

“The CDC changed their quarantine guidelines for people that were close contact, which was me, from 14 to 10 or seven depending on a negative test,” Fennelly said. “Found that out about 10:45 [a.m.], grabbed my clothes, got a flight, raced to the Des Moines airport, jumped on a plane at 1:30 [p.m.], got to DFW about 3:45 [p.m.], jumped in a cab, got to the hotel at 4:30 [p.m.] and left with the team, so it happened very quickly.”

Fennelly said he was really happy to see the team and he didn’t know if he has been that nervous for a game in a long time.

He was really proud of the team and said his staff did an amazing job in his absence as well.

This sentiment was also echoed by junior guard/forward Ashley Joens.

“Coach Fennelly back is great but the assistant coaches they prepared us for the game really well and they really stepped up,” Joens said. “Something Coach Fennelly always says is ‘control what you can control’ and I think we really did that, especially with Coach Fennelly gone, the coaches really stepped up and we kind of all bought into it, and I think having him back is great and we just gotta keep building on what we’ve done so far.”

Fennelly said the game plan didn’t change at all with him going to the TCU game, saying he was just acting as a fan at the game.

“Everyone for 10 days had to work harder and more,” Fennelly said. “And we talk about we over me more not less, the staff did it and nothing changed, and I just had a really good seat for the game.”

Double figures all around

Ashley Joens continued her scoring rampage with 33 more points and earned her second double-double in three games with 11 rebounds.

But she wasn’t the only one getting buckets against TCU on Wednesday night.

Senior forward/center Kristin Scott also contributed 15 points and five rebounds, sometimes looking like the Horned Frogs would let her do whatever she wanted down low.

Fennelly said Scott was great on offense and also mentioned her defense on junior forward Yummy Morris.

“The other thing is, she guarded Yummy Morris who had 26 in their first game and I think she only made two free throws, so I thought Kristin was really good,” Fennelly said. “She only had one turnover against a lot of double teams, shot selection was great, played with a great sense of calm, she hadn’t had a great start to the senior year and we talked a lot about it and we challenged her a little bit but we know how good she is and she showed it tonight.”

Fennelly said if the Cyclones are going to go where they go, it will be behind Joens and Scott, but added that he was really proud of Scott on Wednesday.

Another player who poured in the points was freshman guard Aubrey Joens, who had 12 points on four 3-pointers coming off the bench.

Two other players were close to double figures, with freshman guard Kylie Feuerbach scoring eight and redshirt sophomore forward Morgan Kane coming off the bench and getting eight points late in the game as well.

Ashley Joens said she was able to score so much because her teammates stepped up and opened up a lot more inside for her.

“With the defense that TCU ran I was able to also get a lot of shots outside as well,” Ashley Joens said. “So just all around the team played well, the coaches, the assistant coaches, everyone, it was a total team effort.”

Iowa State will play No. 1 South Carolina next at 11 a.m. Sunday at Hilton Coliseum in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.