Three Big Takeaways: Three-point shooting power Iowa State to a ranked win


Tyler Coe

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

Payne Blazevich, Sports Reporter

No. 14 Iowa State secured its first top-25 win of the season over No. 25 Villanova Sunday afternoon. Success behind the arc helped the Cyclones separate themselves early in the matchup.

Iowa State has struggled to find consistent shooting performances this season, but the three-point shots were landing against the Wildcats. The 74-62 win marks the team’s first-ranked win this season. 

With conference play on the horizon, Iowa State was able to put together one of its most complete performances against Villanova. 

First top-25 win

Prior to the matchup, Iowa State was 0-2 against top-25 teams this season. The Cyclones stumbled at the finish line, losing 73-64 against No. 8 North Carolina, and a third quarter offensive explosion helped No. 16 Iowa blow past Iowa State, 70-57.

In one of its toughest non-conference games, the Cyclones hit their stride. 

The offense started off hot, as Iowa State jumped out to an early 21-12 lead in the first quarter. The Cyclone defense shut down the Wildcats, helping to build separation before the first break. 

Iowa State maintained its three-point shooting in the second quarter, as the defense continued to trouble Villanova’s guards. The Wildcats chipped away at Iowa State’s lead in the third quarter, but a continued scoring effort helped Iowa State close out the win. 

The Cyclones will have one more non-conference matchup – an in-state battle versus Drake – before kicking off Big 12 play against Texas Tech. Iowa State improved to 8-2 with the ranked win, providing a feather in the team’s cap before a challenging conference slate. 

Three-ball connects

Although Iowa State has struggled shooting the three at times, the Cyclones connected early and often against Villanova. The initial offensive burst set the tone for the rest of the game, as Iowa State’s shooters continued to build their confidence. 

A triple from redshirt freshman Denae Fritz kicked off the scoring run, and each player helped contribute offensively. Early makes in the paint opened up shots behind the arc, and as the Cyclones continued to hit the threes, the lead grew in Iowa State’s favor. 

The team shot 50% from behind the arc, led by senior Ashley Joens with 17 points and four triples. Guards Lexi Donarski, Emily Ryan and Fritz also reached double figures offensively. Senior Stephanie Soares’ 14 points in the paint helped open up Iowa State’s shooters. 

Iowa State’s offense has been inconsistent, but with a second consecutive high-scoring performance, the team has begun to establish its offensive rhythm. 


Although offense reigned supreme in the matchup, each team’s defense had its moments in the paint. The Wildcats edged out Iowa State in the blocking battle with nine rejections, but both teams combined for 13 total blocks. 

Soares contributed to the total with a block of her own, but her 11 rebounds helped mitigate Villanova’s rejections. The Cyclones were aggressive on the boards, earning 52 rebounds in total, as well as 19 second-chance points. 

Iowa State’s defense also found success securing takeaways, forcing seven Villanova turnovers and earning three steals. 

Complementing a surging Iowa State offense, key defensive stops helped the Cyclones keep Villanova out of reach, helping provide Iowa State its highest-ranked win of the season.