‘I’m excited to get to play with her again’: Joens and Soares drafted to the Dallas Wings


Jacob Rice

Stephanie Soares looks for an opening at the CyHawk 2022 women’s basketball game. Dec. 7, 2022.

Ashley Joens and Stephanie Soares will be teammates once again, as both players were drafted by the Dallas Wings in the WNBA draft Monday night.

Soares was selected No. 4 overall to the Washington Mystics, making her the highest ranked pick in program history before being traded to the Dallas Wings a few minutes later. Joens joined her fellow Cyclone after the guard was picked early in the second round, coming in at No. 19 overall.

The Wings are in the midst of a rebuilding process and hoped to add some playmakers to help the team take a step forward. In its effort, Dallas looked no further than Iowa State’s two draft-eligible players.

“It’s interesting, two players from the same school but probably two different processes for us,” Dallas Wings President and CEO Greg Bibb said.

The Wings valued Joens’ scoring potential and tendency to play bigger than her size, but they also couldn’t pass up the chance of drafting a 6-foot-6 center that can make an impact everywhere on the floor.

“There just aren’t that many six-foot-six post players who can run the floor and shoot the ball like Stephanie,” Bibb said.

The pair of Cyclones didn’t have much time playing together on Iowa State, but when they were connecting early in the season, the team was tough to stop. Iowa State went 11-2 to start the year prior to Soares’ season-ending ACL injury.

Although Soares may not see the floor during the 2023-24 season due to her injury, Joens is looking forward to the potential of both players shining on the same roster.

“It’s really exciting getting drafted to the Dallas Wings, but to know that Steph’s also gonna be there–I got to play with her a little bit this year–so getting the opportunity to play with her again is really exciting,” Joens said.

Soares only played 13 games for the Cyclones, but it was more than enough to prove to WNBA scouts that she could compete at a high level.

After four seasons at The Master’s University and two NAIA Player of the Year honors, Soares made the move to Iowa State in order to bolster her resumé as a player. She made a quick impact in Ames, averaging 14.4 points and 10 rebounds during her time with Iowa State.

An ACL injury midway through the year cut Soares’ season short, but she had enough time to convince scouts that she was capable of playing among the best competition at the collegiate level.

“There were tears, and for every athlete it’s hard getting injured, but [the coaching staff] were like, ‘Okay, let’s take the next step. What do we have to do next?” Soares said. “They’re always encouraging me.”

While Soares was a newcomer, Joens was Iowa State’s keystone player during her five years with the program. Her tenure was filled with personal awards and accolades, topped by a selection as Big 12 Player of the Year and Most Outstanding Player of the Big 12 Tournament.

Joens averaged 19.4 points and 8.8 rebounds during her time with the Cyclones and made the decision to play a fifth season in Ames in order to boost her draft stock. Joens put up double figures in 31 of 32 games during her senior season and helped lead Iowa State to a Big 12 Championship by averaging 26.7 points and 11 rebounds in the conference tournament.

On the Wings, Joens will work to become a playmaker for the team, aiming to make an impact with her ability to score from beyond the arc and down low.

“It’s a hard league, and to even be drafted is hard but making the roster is the next spot, so really excited to be drafted, excited to get to Dallas and get into training camp,” Joens said.

Joens quickly separated herself as a game-changing player at Iowa State, and she looks to do the same at the next level. With everything that comes with transitioning from college to a WNBA roster, Joens is glad to have a familiar face on the same team.

“Obviously with her injury this year I didn’t get to play with her the full year, but [Soares] has a lot of potential and is a great player and great person,” Joens said. “I’m excited to get to play with her again.”