Ashley Joens flourishes to lead Iowa State in a bounce-back win


Owen Aanestad

Ashley Joens goes up for a layup against Jacksonville on Dec. 11, 2022.

Payne Blazevich, Sports Reporter

After a slow start to the game, Iowa State surged past Jacksonville Sunday afternoon. The Cyclones had trouble breaking the Dolphin’s defense to start, but key plays from Ashley Joens helped open up the offense. 

The Cyclones put away Jacksonville 84-50, securing their fifth consecutive home win. Despite early offensive struggles, Iowa State rediscovered some missing offensive firepower. 

“We kind of started off not knocking down some shots, but once they started falling and started to come to us, it felt good,” Joens said. 

Early in the first quarter, Jacksonville was keeping up with Iowa State. The Cyclones were having trouble putting the Dolphins behind them, failing to consistently score and succumbing to Jacksonville’s stout defense. 

Free throws and offensive rebounds from Joens kept the Cyclones ahead, and at the start of the second quarter, a triple from Joens kicked off a major Iowa State scoring run.

“You kind of start to see the ball go in the basket and gain some confidence again,” Joens said.

She went on to lead the Cyclones with 22 points, shooting 50% from the field and hitting two triples. Senior Stephanie Soares and junior Emily Ryan also contributed to the offensive surge, as Soares scored 20 points and Ryan directed the team, leading the Cyclones with seven assists.

After one of its worst shooting performances this season against Iowa Wednesday, Iowa State found some offensive life. The Cyclones rediscovered their shooting rhythm, something they will need as the competition gets stiffer. 

“The biggest thing is shot selection, and I thought our selection was good. We were open, they were flooding to the ball, we moved the ball,” head coach Bill Fennelly said. 

Iowa State was efficient offensively, shooting 47.5% from the field. But the team has still found limited success behind the arc. 

Iowa State went 9-31 from the three-point line, with six threes coming in the first half. The shots were impactful when they hit, but the team has still found trouble consistently making shots from behind the arc. 

“It’s not about skill and it’s not about ‘want to,’ it’s just, we’ve got to see it go in a few times,” Fennelly said. 

The Cyclone bench celebrates a three pointer against Jacksonville on Dec. 11, 2022. (Owen Aanestad)

With a matchup against Villanova and an in-state battle with Drake up next, Iowa State will look to build upon its offensive performance. Conference play is on the horizon, and in the Big 12, the defense will give the Cyclone offense trouble. 

But if Joens can deliver similar performances, the offense will always have an opportunity to succeed. 

“Early (shots) weren’t falling, but I thought we did a good job of finding different ways to score. Ash’ was crashing the boards really hard offensively, drawing fouls,” Ryan said. “I thought she did a good job keeping us going early when we weren’t playing our best.”