Three Big Takeaways: Iowa State falls short in physical road battle


Tyler Coe

Morgan Kane flexes her muscles against Southern on Nov. 10, 2022.

Payne Blazevich, Sports Reporter

In the closing minutes of No. 20 Iowa State’s road matchup against Oklahoma State, the Cyclones struggled to connect on shots, dropping the contest 73-68 to the red-hot Cowgirls.

While Iowa State entered the Wednesday night game with some momentum after key wins over No. 17 Texas and Baylor in double overtime, Oklahoma State arrived off the back of a five-game winning streak. The Cowgirls played with confidence, putting up shots without hesitation and connecting on key buckets when absolutely necessary.

The Cyclones seemed to be on a roll with the season coming to a close, but Oklahoma State was ready to provide a reality check.

Close contest

Iowa State fell short in another physical battle on the road, going back and forth with the Cowgirls for a full 40 minutes. 

Oklahoma State had the edge early, but the Cyclones were able to fight their way back by the end of the first half. From there, each team traded blows in a gritty, hard-fought matchup. 

Guard Ashley Joens led the effort with 20 points, while three Iowa State guards ended with nine and center Morgan Kane stepped up to give the team a presence in the paint. Still, Oklahoma State was ready to respond to any blow the Cyclones could land. 

As the game drew to a close, key shots – including a buzzer-beating triple as the shot clock expired – gave the Cowgirls an edge in the final few minutes.  Iowa State had a chance to tie the game with a final shot, but a step-back three from guard Lexi Donarski fell short.

Missing the easy ones

The Cyclones were slow to put up points, but it wasn’t three-point shooting that hampered the team’s offensive effort. In fact, Iowa State’s eight triples helped keep the game within reach.  

Rather, the Cyclones found most of their trouble finishing on tough takes to the rim. 

Inside of the three-point line, the team went 16-42, finishing with 26 points in the paint and shooting 38.1% from the field. The Cyclones took plenty of contested shots to the basket, but even wide-open layups rolled out of the rim. 

While Iowa State was able to fight its way back, the missed shots in the paint proved costly. The Cyclones had a chance to pull ahead late in the fourth quarter, but they struggled to connect on shots, going 5-14 in the final frame.

Kane commands the paint

In the physical matchup, Kane was a centerpiece for the Cyclones down low. She was an integral part of the team’s gameplan and helped rejuvenate the Iowa State offense when shots weren’t falling. 

Kane got off to a hot start against the Cowgirls, putting up six points down low in the first quarter. She shot 6-7 in the paint, finishing with a season-high 16 points and ranking as Iowa State’s second leading scorer in the matchup.

It wasn’t just Kane’s success on the offensive end but her defensive presence that helped keep the Cyclones competitive. She was aggressive on the boards with seven rebounds, and her two blocks helped slow Oklahoma State’s offensive attack in the paint. 

When Iowa State was in need of a bucket, Kane was the go-to option. It was her ability to facilitate and put up shots when necessary that helped spark Iowa State’s offense to life.