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Three Big Takeaways: Iowa State out-duels North Dakota State in bounce-back win

Nyamer+Diew+drives+the+ball+to+the+hoop+against+North+Dakota+State+at+Hilton+Coliseum+on+Dec.+10%2C+2023.
Tyler Coe
Nyamer Diew drives the ball to the hoop against North Dakota State at Hilton Coliseum on Dec. 10, 2023.

Iowa State hosted North Dakota State Sunday night and grabbed a big win in an 89-59 full-team effort on both sides of the ball.

Two days prior, North Dakota State (NDSU) lost to Drake who also beat Iowa State earlier in the season. This looked to be a tougher test than anticipated until the game progressed.

Here are the three biggest takeaways from Iowa State’s win over the Bison:

Double figures all around

Scoring looked easy for the Cyclones throughout the game. Every Cyclone that saw the floor scored at least one basket.

Nine Cyclones scored, but a few did a bit more. Six Cyclones had over 10 points, the most to get into double figures in a game this season.

Double-figure scoring was led by Addy Brown with 16, followed by Hannah Belanger with 15, Audi Crooks scored 13, Nyamer Diew scored 12, rounded out by Isnelle Natabou and Jalynn Bristow who each scored 11 points.

“Everyone feels that there’s a lot of people that can score,” head coach Bill Fennelly said. “You don’t have a true point guard. So now, it becomes we have to trust everyone else to share the ball.”

Having three upperclassmen and three freshmen score so much showcased the skill level now and for years to come for Iowa State.

“We have a lot of people that can score and that was evident today,” Diew said. “It was fun that everyone was scoring. It’s fun to cheer on teammates when they’re scoring.”

Shooting percentage at a season-high

Not only were the Cyclones scoring a lot, they were not missing either. For the first time this season, Iowa State shot over 50% on its field goals.

Nearly every Cyclone had a shooting percentage of 50% or higher, culminating in a team percentage of 55.9%. The previous high was against Butler at exactly 50%.

Iowa State went 33-for-59 shooting and 9-for-23 from the 3-point line. The percentage from beyond the arc of 39.1% was up from the season average of 33.9%.

Fennelly said the balance of the offense was key, as was shot selection and limiting turnovers. All of that was done while preparing for man-to-man defense, but the Cyclones faced a zone instead.

In all, Iowa State had 34 points in the paint, 27 points from 3-point range, 14 from free throws and the other 14 points came outside of the paint but inside the arc.

Leading the scoring from inside was Brown, going 7-for-9. Outside, it was Belanger, shooting 3-for-8 from deep.

“Offensively, I’ve been trying to find my role,” Belanger said. “Getting people in the right spot, making sure they can be successful, that’s kind of how our leadership is.”

A complete game

While the shooting was lights out, the defensive effort should not be overlooked. Iowa State dominated NDSU defensively from the second quarter onward after a tight first quarter.

“There were some quarters where we let them go on runs, but I think overall we didn’t let them continue to go on those runs,” Belanger said.

When asked if it was the most complete game, Fennelly agreed when all things were considered.

“I think if you look at everything offensively, and especially considering the quality of the defense of the opponent and the physicality, I would say yes,” Fennelly said.

The Bison were held to a shooting percentage of 30.8%, their lowest of the season. Iowa State doubled the defensive rebound total of NDSU 34-17 from all of the missed shots.

Iowa State outscored NDSU in every quarter and had over 20 points in every quarter for the first time this season. NDSU did not reach 20 points in any quarter.

“There’s been times where we have looked really terrible in the second quarter and then looked really good in the third quarter,” Diew said. “I feel like as a team this is the most complete game.”

NDSU only led for 49 seconds in the opening minute of the first quarter. After the Cyclones took the lead they never looked back.

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