Donarski and Joens lead the Cyclones to victory over North Dakota State


Freshman guard Lexi Donarski shoots a jumper against North Dakota State on Dec. 12 in Hilton Coliseum.

Megan Teske

The Cyclones beat the Bison by a wide margin Saturday afternoon, but for the first time this season, Iowa State wasn’t led by junior guard Ashley Joens, instead it was freshman guard Lexi Donarski leading the charge in Iowa State’s 85-64 win over North Dakota State (NDSU).

Donarksi and Joens combined for 49 of Iowa State’s 85 total points, with Donarski putting in a team-high and career-high 25 points as Joens contributed 24.

Iowa State Head Coach Bill Fennelly said Donarski was outstanding, and said he told her after the game, “welcome to Division I basketball.”

Donarski was aggressive Saturday and not afraid to take shots, and Fennelly said he has been telling her to shoot the ball more and be more aggressive.

“She’s kind of like a lot of young players, kind of overthought, ‘do I do it, do I not, what’s the play,’” Fennelly said. “But I thought today you saw her natural skillset come out, I thought we ran some things to get her in space, she didn’t hesitate, but it was good to see.”

Donarski went 10-19 from the field and 3-8 from the 3-point line, and said she has been putting up more shots outside of practice.

She said building up her confidence and making more shots during practice and the game helps her flow and pushes her to shoot more.

“It was nice when I was able to make a couple three’s in the game, first against Iowa and then tonight a couple,” Donarski said. “It just feels good and I think that I’m starting to feel more in the flow with each game as it progresses.”

Donarski, who previously had a career high of 13 points, said it was her teammates that helped her get to a new career high of 25 points Saturday.

“My teammates were just consistently putting me in good spots where I could score and then from there it’s whether it’s a pass or a shot from there,” Donarski said. “It felt really good to be able to go out there and play with them today.”

Donarski also grabbed seven rebounds, including two offensive rebounds, dished out three assists and had a steal to end the day.

Joens thinks Donarski being aggressive on the defensive end helped her to score more on the offensive end as well.

“She was really good on defense and I think that helps her a lot on the offensive end just being aggressive, getting steals, kinda getting after it like that, and she does a great job of it,” Joens said. “She also knocked down quite a bit of three’s, which was good to see as well.”

NDSU double teamed Joens often throughout the game Saturday, something Fennelly said is going to happen, and he said you have to make teams pay for it.

Fennelly said there are more driving lanes open when Joens gets double teamed, and said he needs to remind the freshmen of that.

“It’s hard to be a freshman at this level,” Fennelly said. “But the thing that they have the advantage of, unlike a lot of teams, we’re starting three, playing a lot, playing four, but they’re playing with Ashley Joens and Kristin Scott so the other two people that they’re out there with can free them up for things offensively as well.”

Although Joens saw a double team throughout the game, she was able to put up 24 points, her first under-30-point performance since the season opener.

Joens recorded another double-double, her 22nd of her career, bringing down 10 rebounds to go along with her 24 points.

When asked about seeing someone else outscore her, Joens gave a laugh and said, “I don’t really think about it, but it’s great to see them do so well.”

The Cyclones’ next game is against the University of Northern Iowa at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.