No. 14 Cyclones suffer first loss of season at LSU

Iowa State guard Lexi Donarski draws contact going up for a layup against South Dakota State on Nov. 15.

Aaron Hickman

After over two decades of battling Kim Mulkey down south in Waco, Texas, this year it was a battle down in Baton Rouge, La. for Bill Fennelly and the No. 14 Iowa State Cyclones on Thursday.

The Cyclones suffered their first loss of the season against the now 6-1 LSU Tigers in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, falling to 7-1 on the season.

In a first quarter dominated by the Tigers, the Cyclones were fortunate to be down 24-20 at the end of it. Down 22-13 with just under three minutes left in the quarter, Iowa State closed the period on a 7-2 run and gained a little bit of momentum back.

LSU shot 64 percent from the floor and 100 percent from beyond the arc, both numbers that Iowa State needed to do something about.

The Cyclones did, for roughly five minutes.

Holding LSU to only three points in the first five minutes of the second quarter, two free throws from Ashley Joens put the Cyclones up 28-27 just before the under-five media timeout.

However, an already shorthanded Iowa State squad had yet another problem to deal with: foul trouble.

With Nyamer Diew and Denae Fritz out, as well as Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw, who has yet to play this season due to injury, Beatriz Jordão picked up three fouls while Emily Ryan, Morgan Kane and Maggie Vick each had two at the half.

The Cyclones didn’t score for the last three minutes of the half, and Ryann Payne finished a buzzer-beating layup that made the Tigers’ halftime lead 38-32.

Halfway through the third quarter, LSU was up 48-42 while shooting 6-6 on threes for the game. It didn’t get any prettier from there, with Alexis Morris leading the Tigers to a 56-48 lead through three.

Kane and Jordão each picked up their fourth fouls in the fourth quarter, forcing Vick into the game and thinning out the rotation even more. The Tigers continued to have an answer for anything the Cyclones threw their way, making a small lead feel like a 20-point blowout.

In the end, Iowa State fell to LSU with a final score of 69-60.

Ashley Joens played as expected, scoring 24 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Ryan and Lexi Donarski also scored in double figures with 13 and 10, respectively.

Aubrey Joens had a Dennis Rodman-esque performance with two points and 12 rebounds, continuing to put up a fight against anyone who challenges her on the boards.

Alexis Morris scored a career-high 25 points and made a career-high five threes for the Tigers.

The Cyclones will attempt to bounce back at noon on Sunday against Longwood in Hilton Coliseum.