Cold shooting can’t stop the Cyclones as they roll past Southern


Tyler Coe

Ashley Joens goes for a layup against Southern on Nov. 10

AMES — Cold shooting didn’t stop the Cyclones from brute forcing their way to a 79-55 win over Southern Thursday night.

Although the Cyclones scored the first points of the night, it was clear from the first 3-point shot that scoring was not going to come easy. The first nine threes went up and came right back down without touching the net once.

“We just kinda had that look on our face like, ‘It’s not my night and I’m not making any shots,’” Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said. “I mean we were 0-9 from three in the first quarter at one point and there wasn’t anyone… I think I was the closest person to them when they missed it. I think we shot four air balls.”

The frustration mounted as the Cyclones never truly pulled away from the Jaguars early in the game. With the Hilton crowd getting into a lull, Nyamer Diew took a shot from beyond the arc that rang like an alarm clock through the entire coliseum.

“It took us a little bit to get going, knock down some shots,” Ashley Joens said. “I know [Diew] hit a three in the corner that kinda helped our momentum.”

Although the team was shooting 1-10 from three, that shot showed it was possible to end the cold streak. Despite the lack of 3-point scoring, the team still found ways to put the ball in the net.

The constant aggression from Iowa State helped put the game away. When shots were not hitting, the team took more shots. When freebies came their way from fouls, the Cyclones capitalized.

Iowa State knew what it needed to do to win and stuck to the game plan.

“Everyone on our team can shoot it,” Fennelly said. “Sometimes it’s contagious in a bad way, just like a good way.”

At halftime, the Cyclones shot 4-19 from three and just 38.9% from the field. However, they still had a double-digit lead.

The Cyclones shot nearly twice as much as the Jaguars in the first half. The team seemed to be testing out the age-old saying, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

“We didn’t miss a shot in shoot around today,” Fennelly said. “And tonight we didn’t make anything. But that’s basketball.”

Lexi Donarski and Emily Ryan seemed to be the only ones immune to the cold streak, as they kept up their efficient nights in the second half. Donarski continued to shoot well from three, and while the team struggled, she had five of the team’s eight 3-pointers.

Not only that, Donarski’s defensive pressure caused more offensive opportunities for the Cyclones. Once she settled into a groove, shots were raining and the Cyclones were pulling away from the Jaguars.

“The first three threes she took were wide open, and she missed them all,” Fennelly said. “But then after that, she didn’t panic, didn’t pout, kept playing, got her the ball and made some shots.”

Ryan had a great night herself, ending the night with near-perfect shooting and dishing out six assists.

Ryan also made six free throws to add to her 19 points. With Donarski putting up 22 points and Joens getting a piece of the action with a double-double, the Big Three totaled 56 points. Enough points to take down Southern by themselves.

The efficiency of Ryan and Donarski was a big factor in Iowa State running away from the game in the second half.

“We were struggling in a lot of ways, and those two, at both ends of the court, took over the game,” Fennelly said.

Although it was a slow night shooting, the team still played hard. Iowa State wasn’t expecting it to be as much of a test as it was, but that was not necessarily a bad thing.

When things were not going their way, the Cyclones proved they could adapt and overcome the obstacles. The frustration they felt shooting the way they did was an important step in their growth.

The team sees its potential and knows what it has to work on to reach the end goal.

“No one has to tell them they didn’t play the way they are capable of playing. No one,” Fennelly said. “They already know it, and that’s a good thing.”