‘How do you guard them?’: Iowa State has a dominant offensive showing over Columbia


Tyler Coe

Ashley Joens spots up from the corner against Columbia on Nov. 20, 2022

Payne Blazevich, Sports Reporter

Iowa State wasted no time taking down Columbia in a dominant showing Sunday morning. A high-powered offensive effort was led by the Cyclones’ near-unstoppable backcourt.

The offense followed up its 88-point effort against Northern Iowa by putting up 99 points against the Lions. With the win, Iowa State moves to 4-0 this season headed into the Phil Knight Invitational. 

As upcoming competition begins to stiffen, Iowa State will need the backcourt to have performances like this. 

“I think when people scout us, they’re going to look and say, ‘alright, how do you guard them?’” head coach Bill Fennelly said. 

The Cyclones were hot from the opening tipoff, with senior Ashley Joens scoring 14 points in the first quarter.  The guards were nailing step-back threes and attacking the basket, jumping out to an early double-digit lead. 

After Iowa State surged ahead, it never took its foot off the gas. Joens finished her day with 33 points, going seven for 10 from the three-point line. Junior Emily Ryan also reached double figures, earning 13 points of her own. 

The Cyclones’ 12 threes helped create separation against Columbia. After a short period of inconsistent shooting in the first couple of games this season, Iowa State has stepped into its stride. 

“Once you knock down a couple shots, you get your confidence and you start to see the ball going into the hoop a little more,” Joens said. 

When the guards weren’t scoring themselves, they were finding ways to spread the floor. Ryan directed the court with nine assists, using nifty moves and quick passes to find an open player.

The backcourt also dished the ball down low, helping secure points under the basket and opening up scoring opportunities when the defense crashed. 

“We’ve kinda figured that if they’re looking in, the ball will be open on the three-point line. And if they’re not helping, that post-up is gonna be open,” said senior Stephanie Soares, who followed up Joens in points with 15. 

“[The backcourt] did a really good job of looking inside, and if it’s not there, it’s a nice (pass), three-pointer wide open,” Soares said. 

The win exemplified a second straight high-powered offensive performance for the Cyclones. 

Despite its ability to score, Iowa State was pushed to the brink against Northern Iowa, but Columbia struggled to put up a challenge. 23-point blowout wins will be few and far between for the Cyclones as the season progresses. 

Iowa State is slated to take on Michigan State for the first game of the Phil Knight Invitational, providing the Cyclones with its toughest challenge so far. 

But if Iowa State’s offense can click, it can take on anybody. 

Emily Ryan goes up with her right hand against Columbia on Nov. 20, 2022 (Tyler Coe)

“You want to make a trade, Emily Ryan and Lexi Donarski are off the table,” Fennelly said. “They’re competitive, they lead, their teammates trust them, their coaches trust them. That’s going to be a huge driver in where this team goes.” 

The wins will get tougher, and competition will get stiffer; Iowa State will need its backcourt to have these kinds of games.