Joens finishes what she started in a revenge win over Oklahoma Saturday


Daniel Jacobi II

Ashley Joens smiles after making a three-point during the game against Oklahoma in Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 28, 2023.

Payne Blazevich, Sports Editor

No. 18 Iowa State got its revenge over No. 14 Oklahoma in a tight 86-78 win Saturday afternoon. The Cyclones were led by guard Ashley Joens, who had another standout performance against the Sooners.

Iowa State had trouble scoring early on, and Oklahoma’s pace left the Cyclones helpless in transition. Three-point shooting kept Iowa State in the game, but it needed someone to step up if the team wanted to take the lead. 

Enter Joens, whose performance leveled up Iowa State in one of her best games as a Cyclone.

“I think it’s certainly on the list because of the amount of minutes she had to play, the people she had to defend, the way she scored,” head coach Bill Fennelly said. 

Joens was near-unstoppable versus the Sooners defense, especially behind the three-point line. The fast-paced game provided the All-American plenty of opportunities to create her own shots. 

Joens scored 32 points in the win over the Sooners, hitting four triples and securing seven rebounds. Whether it was the desire to maintain bragging rights over her sister Aubrey – who scored a pair of points for Oklahoma – or the speed of play in the matchup, Joens has been able to put up some of her best numbers when facing the Sooners.

She found similar success against Oklahoma in their previous meeting, where she posted 27 points and nine rebounds in the 82-79 loss. Her ability to hit shots kept the Cyclones competitive in the first game, and she kept the momentum rolling in their second. 

“You read their defense and find different ways to score, different ways to get your teammates open and I’d say my teammates tonight did a good job of getting me the ball when I was open and it helped,” Joens said. 

She received a helping hand from guard Denae Fritz, whose 14 points kept the Cyclone offense afloat. Fritz hit some key threes in the first quarter, helping slow the budding Oklahoma momentum early in the game.

Guard Emily Ryan also reached 14 points, along with eight assists and seven rebounds. Although the bench went scoreless, Iowa State’s starting five all reached double figures, which helped the Cyclones outscore Oklahoma’s fast-paced style of play. 

“I don’t know if I’ve coached in a game where you didn’t get one point off the bench, but the five kids that started really competed,” Fennelly said.

Ashley Joens smiles as a foul is called against Oklahoma during the game against the Sooners in Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 28, 2023. (Daniel Jacobi II)

The victory marks Iowa State’s first ranked win in conference play, and the team’s second ranked win this season. Over the past couple of weeks, the Cyclones have been on an upward trajectory. 

After a streak of wins over Big 12 opponents, including a 75-35 blowout win against TCU Wednesday night, the Cyclones have added a feather-in-their-cap win, while securing a spot at the top of the conference rankings.

Iowa State has been playing with confidence over the past few games, but Fennelly doesn’t think the word “swagger” is the way to define their bout of recent success.

“Swagger is not a term that goes with our team,” Fennelly said. “(The team) is gonna love that, that’s just not who we are.”