Cyclones breeze past Winona State thanks to Soares’ dominant night


Daniel Jacobi II

Stephanie Soares battles through handful of Winona State defenders in exhibition game on Nov. 2.

Christian Royston, Sports Reporter

AMES — The Cyclones got their first chance to show off what to expect for the upcoming season as they took the court at home Wednesday.

Iowa State cruised to a comfortable 104-47 win over Winona State. Although it was an exhibition game, many Cyclones got their chances to shine.

A busy offseason for the Cyclones saw new faces come and go. One of the most notable additions came in Stephanie Soares, a transfer from The Master’s University.

Soares opened the night with a mid-range shot to put the first points on the board for the Cyclones. Even from that moment, it seemed that the Cyclones might have landed themselves a special player. Although, shortly after that Soares put a shot up that touched nothing but air on its way to the floor.

“I won the pool on the air ball on her first three; I knew that was coming,” Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said. “But [Stephanie] is really skilled. I think she’s learning the pace; she’s learning what it takes to play at this level. She gives us a dimension we haven’t had.”

Soares was expected to add versatility to the team, which would improve the team as a whole. Fennelly boasted her 6-foot-6 frame, and that size and length were on display all night against the Warriors.

Winona State played soft defensively at times, leaving Soares wide open at the 3-point line consistently. Of course, Soares showed that even though she’s a big player, she can still be potent from beyond the arc.

“Coach [Fennelly] told me to shoot when I’m open,” Soares said.

And shoot she did.

It was clear that the Cyclones wanted to feed Soares, and they did just that.

Soares dominated on both ends of the court, showing off her stifling defense and knocking down shots from all over the court. She ended the game with 26 points, shooting 57 percent from three.

On a night of near perfection, it was tough for Soares to leave the game with areas to work on. 

“For me moving forward, I think just defensively being there, more present in the lane,” Soares said.

If Soares can work out the small kinks in her game, Iowa State could be a force to be reckoned with. Soares was not the only player getting her time in the spotlight.

The Cyclones were also able to show off their depth, reaching deep into the lineup to produce points. Morgan Kane and Nyamer Diew were among the players that had a great night in Hilton.

“We have seven starting players,” Fennelly said. “[Morgan] and [Nyamer] are really good players and people forget that they started on the Sweet 16 team.”

Kane showed she still has the size and defense that make her a dominant force on defense. Diew showed that scoring was second nature to her, finishing with 13 points, shooting 3-5 from three.

Although not much of a surprise, Ashley Joens showed that scoring still comes easily to her. Joens also put up 13 points in her limited minutes.

The dominance that Iowa State showed gave Fennelly few areas to worry about. The Cyclones were unforgiving on defense throughout the game, although the offense got off to a slow start.

“In the first half, we missed 21 shots and had three offensive rebounds,” Fennelly said. “That was probably the one thing we addressed at halftime, like, come on.”

The Cyclones came back from the locker room fired up, and that’s when the 3-pointers started raining. Iowa State ended the night shooting 41 percent from three, knocking down 16.

Overall, the win gave fans a lot to look forward to for the season. Although the stats don’t count and the win doesn’t count, the win was important nonetheless.

If the Cyclones can use what they learned from the game to improve going forward, the sky’s the limit. 

“We’re excited, and it looks like the fans are excited,” Joens said. “We just got to keep building off what we did tonight and learn from our mistakes and use that to drive us forward.”