Iowa State looks to bounce back offensively against SIUE


Daniel Jacobi II

Head coach Bill Fennelly draws out a play during a timeout in the game against UNI at the McLeod Center on Nov. 16, 2022.

Payne Blazevich, Sports Reporter

No. 8 Iowa State was handed its first loss by No. 6 North Carolina Sunday night. The Cyclones will look to have a bounce-back shooting performance against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Tuesday after a stretch of offensive ineptitude. 

For the first time this season, Iowa State was outmatched physically, letting slip a 53-45 lead headed into the fourth quarter. A 14-0 North Carolina run helped the Tar Heels jump out in front, and a 9-0 run to end the game sealed the deal, 73-64. 

Although the Cyclones are built to shore up the physicality weakness that has plagued them in years past, the issue reared its ugly head Sunday, allowing a North Carolina comeback while Iowa State struggled to score. 

“They’re very physical on the ball,” head coach Bill Fennelly said following the loss. “They were good at their on-ball defense. They double-teamed us when we drove in, but that’s the level of basketball that you see at this level.” 

North Carolina’s defensive peril limited Iowa State’s shot-making ability throughout the game. Both teams opened cold, going 3-17 combined to start the game. The Cyclones found enough of a rhythm to take a 17-point lead, but when the defense clamped down, Iowa State couldn’t rediscover its shooting stroke. 

Senior Stephanie Soares led the Cyclones with 19 points, making an impact down low. But, the rest of the team struggled to score, with senior Ashley Joens being the only backcourt player to reach double-figures with 18 points. 

“I think we had some kids that missed a couple and decided (they) weren’t gonna shoot it,” Fennelly said. 

Shooting trouble has been a problem early in the year, but the Cyclones have also had notable offensive performances, including an 88-point effort when facing Northern Iowa, 99 points against Columbia and 80 points versus Michigan State in the first round of the Phil Knight Invitational. 

The inability to make shots late and get critical stops when necessary led the Cyclones to their first loss of the season. 

Iowa State will look to turn around fast, taking on SIUE Tuesday night. The Cougars won’t be much more than a tune-up game for Iowa State, as they have yet to find their first win of the season. 

With a challenging schedule ahead, as well as a trip to Iowa City looming, the Cyclones need to rediscover their offensive rhythm. 

“We’ll see how we respond,” Fennelly said. “I love our team; I love the leadership of our team. I’d be shocked if we’re not ready to go Tuesday.”

Iowa State will take on SIUE 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Hilton Coliseum.