Three Big Takeaways: Lingering issues cost Iowa State in loss on the road


Daniel Jacobi II

Emily Ryan attempts an open layup during the game against Baylor in Hilton Coliseum on Feb. 4, 2023.

Payne Blazevich, Sports Reporter

Despite a week of practice, No. 21 Iowa State couldn’t put it together against West Virginia on the road, dropping its third consecutive game Saturday night.

The tailspin started after a pair of close losses against both Kansas State and Baylor. Even without a game during the week, the Cyclones were unable to overcome issues that have been plaguing the team over the past two weeks. 

Shooting inconsistency and foul trouble were ever-present in Iowa State’s 73-60 loss, leaving the Cyclones on precarious ground with more tough matchups still to come.

Fourth quarter woes continue

Throughout a majority of the matchup, Iowa State was able to hang around with West Virginia, but the wheels fell off in the fourth quarter. 

Iowa State led 35-34 heading into halftime, relying on the backcourt – guard Ashley Joens in particular – to create their own offense. The Cyclones found most of their success driving in the paint and pushing the ball towards the basket. 

In the second half, adjustments from West Virginia kept Iowa State out of the paint, and with the Cyclones struggling to shoot from the perimeter, the offense dropped off. 

All of Iowa State’s lingering issues came to a head in the fourth quarter, as West Virginia rattled off 17 points to put the game away, compared to Iowa State’s 12. Joens, who led Iowa State in scoring, was held below her season average, posting 17 for the Cyclones. 

Three-ball wouldn’t fall

The adjustments from West Virginia would have been inconsequential, had Iowa State been able to connect on some threes. But unfortunately for the Cyclones, shooting troubles followed the team to Morgantown. 

Iowa State went 5-30 on threes, with forward Nyamer Diew leading the team with a pair of triples. The performance comes off the back of a previous off-night behind the arc, where Iowa State shot 5-24 versus Baylor. 

When the Cyclones can’t shoot, the offense takes a hit. Iowa State was able to score 24 points in the paint as a response, while the Mountaineers scored 30 down low. 

West Virginia hit the same number of three-pointers, but a burst of offense late in the third quarter created key separation. 

Foul trouble

Much like the team’s shooting woes, foul trouble has been a lingering problem with the Cyclones over the past couple of weeks.

All five of Iowa State’s starters struggled with the whistle, with Diew, Joens and guard Lexi Donarski fouling out. Guards Emily Ryan and Denae Fritz, along with center Morgan Kane reached three fouls. 

The coaching staff was forced to put key contributors on the bench, while the defense had to tighten up as a response. When the Cyclones had to change the way they played, things began to go haywire. 

Having Iowa State’s best scorers on the bench has cost the team in close games this season. In this matchup, widespread foul trouble left the Cyclones helpless as the game carried on.