Cyclones fight to the buzzer, defeat Panthers with defensive stand


Lexi Donarski dribbles the ball up the court against Iowa on Dec. 8.

Aaron Hickman

Aiming to go 3-0 against Drake, Iowa and Northern Iowa (UNI) for the first time since the 2013-14 season, the Cyclones had to battle all the way to the final buzzer.

Following an emotional win over Iowa on Wednesday night, the No. 15 Iowa State Cyclones were able to capture their second in-state victory in less than a week with a win against the Panthers.

The Panthers showed a lot of fight in the first quarter, out-rebounding the Cyclones 11-7 and scoring more points in the paint. Emerson Green and Kam Finley combined for 14 of UNI’s 20 points, and Iowa State was down 20-17 at the end of the period.

Iowa State won the second quarter 17-3, and Morgan Kane was the star of the show. Scoring 11 points and grabbing nine rebounds, Kane’s near double-double propelled the Cyclones to a 34-23 halftime lead.

Lexi Donarski scored eight points in the first half, but her defense was even better. Carrying over the lockdown effort she gave against Caitlin Clark on Wednesday, Donarski held Karli Rucker, the Panthers’ leading scorer so far this season, to two points in the half.

UNI only shot 30 percent from the floor and went 0-9 as a team from beyond the arc in the first two quarters.

Just a few minutes into the third, Kane clinched the first double-double of her career by grabbing her 10th rebound. She also remained perfect from the floor, ending the third 5-5 overall.

The Panthers had their highest scoring quarter of the game in the third, outscoring the Cyclones 22-18. Despite only shooting 35 percent from the floor and 21 percent from beyond the arc, UNI ended the third down 52-45 and within striking distance.

Despite not having the greatest game offensively, Ashley Joens still found ways to impact the game. Contributing her usual hard-nosed rebounding performance, she also drew a few charges. None were bigger than one she took with just under four minutes left in the game, which was followed up by a three from Aubrey that put the Cyclones up 67-59.

But the Panthers still wouldn’t go away.

Fighting all the way back to a one-point deficit, a steal by Rucker set UNI up to take the final shot of the game. They were able to do just that, but a defensive stand by the Cyclones won the game 70-69.

Iowa State moves to 10-1 on the season, and they will be off for a week before returning to action against Prairie View A&M next Sunday.