Iowa State looks to finish strong in season finale against Texas Tech


Daniel Jacobi II

Ashley Joens attempts a three during the game against TCU in Hilton Coliseum on Feb. 25, 2023.

Payne Blazevich, Sports Reporter

No. 23 Iowa State will close out its regular season against Texas Tech Saturday. The game marks the final time in Hilton Coliseum for Cyclone seniors, including star guard Ashley Joens. 

In 2018, Joens kicked off her career with a two-point performance in a win over Southwest Baptist. Five years–and many accolades–later, Joens will play her final home game at Iowa State. 

Despite a season of highs and lows, Joens looks to lead Iowa State to a strong finish with the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments on deck. 

“It seems crazy that five years has flown by and it’s going to be the end here soon,” Joens said. 

The season has been perilous for the Cyclones, who had to deal with injuries and stretches of poor shooting. In its previous matchup, Iowa State fell short against Kansas in the fourth quarter, 98-93, after erasing a double-digit Jayhawk lead. 

Still, with one game left on the schedule, the Cyclones are more than ready to attack the postseason. Despite some tough results on the floor, the team is still locked in. 

“We’re always locked into practice and trying to come up with new strategies, and listening to what the coaches have to say to be the most successful on the team,” said forward Morgan Kane, who will also be playing her final game in Hilton Coliseum Saturday. 

The Cyclones entered the season with a top-10 ranking in the AP Poll and a first place ranking in the Big 12 from the media. Iowa State continued to compete as one of the top teams in the conference around the start of Big 12 play, but an ACL injury to center Stephanie Soares sent the season into a tailspin. 

Even without Soares, who transferred to Iowa State as a two-time NAIA player of the year, Iowa State was able to correct its course with some offensive adjustments to enable the team’s playmakers. The adjustments weren’t foolproof when the team struggled to score, but the Cyclones were able to bounce back every time they seemed to stall. 

“If I had to describe this team in one word, I’d say ‘resilient,’” Kane said. “When we get knocked down, we keep coming back up.” 

After another tough loss on the road, Iowa State will look to display some of its resilience in the season finale against Texas Tech. 

The Cyclones more than handled the previous matchup in Lubbock earlier in the season, taking down the Lady Raiders 81-58. Iowa State will have the opportunity to earn its second sweep of the season, having beaten each Big 12 team at least once. 

With one game left on the regular season schedule, the Cyclones may already have their eyes on the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments. But for the graduating seniors, the matchup is one final opportunity to step onto the court and compete in Hilton. 

“We know it’s going to be tough, so we just have to come out, be ready to listen to the coaches and prepare and be ready to go,” Joens said. 

Iowa State will take on Texas Tech at 3 p.m. Saturday at Hilton Coliseum.