Texas wins OT thriller over Iowa State at Big 12 Tournament


Jacob Rice/Iowa State Daily

Bill Fennelly draws up a play for his team at the Big 12 Tournament on March 12 in Kansas City, Mo. The Cyclones lost to Texas 82-73.

Andrew Harrington

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Iowa State women’s basketball suffered its third loss of the season against Texas alone, dropping an overtime thriller by a score of 82-73 on Saturday in the Big 12 Basketball Championship semifinal.

With an opportunity to advance to the championship game of the Big 12 Tournament on the line, both teams played extremely physical styles.

The first two meetings between these teams each went in favor of the Longhorns, with a combined scoring differential of 43 points. Physical defenses like Texas have caused problems for the Cyclones this season.

To counter the physical game that Texas plays, the Cyclones looked to bring their own physicality to the game. The difficulty that the Cyclones faced was that they were trying to play a style that Texas has had all season long to master.

“We had to try to match their physicality when we were on defense, which is tough to do because they are really physical and strong on defense,” Lexi Donarski said.

Head Coach Bill Fennelly felt that despite the loss, his team was much improved against Texas on the offensive side of the ball compared to previous meetings.

“We had our share of turnovers and the third quarter started poorly, but other than that we got the ball in the lane for the most part,” Fennelly said. “Our decision making was good; we made the shots that we needed to make.”

The Longhorn defense caused problems for the Cyclones early, but Ashley Joens came to life, scoring nine of the team’s first 11 points. On the other side, Rori Harmon matched Joens with nine points in the first quarter.

Over the course of the game, the two would go back and forth, shouldering the offensive load for their respective teams. Joens would finish the game with 33 points while Harmon pitched in 30 of her own.

In the overtime period alone, Harmon scored 12 points, with the entire Iowa State team mustering up just 10 of its own.

Regarding the Texas run in overtime, Fennelly said that it came down to a couple missed defensive rotations, and his team did not get stops when they needed it most. Texas did that, and it made the difference in the game.

“In an overtime game it swings quickly, and to their credit they hit a couple really tough ones,” Fennelly said.

Along with the scoring effort in the game, Harmon was playing tight defense all night long, making nothing easy for Emily Ryan. She drew three offensive fouls and forced Ryan to turn the ball over seven times.

All the Cyclones can do now is look ahead to the NCAA Tournament with the Selection Show coming on Sunday. If Iowa State receives a top four seed in its region, it will host the first two rounds of the tournament in Hilton Coliseum.

“I’m heartbroken we don’t get to get to play again tomorrow, but we’re gonna play again, and I would not want to be around any other people than these guys,” Fennelly said.

Fennelly said that whatever happens down the road, he could not be prouder of what they have accomplished, and he is excited to see what’s next.

“The way that they believe and bought in to what Iowa State is about, and the way they show up every day,” Fennelly said.

“We don’t have names on the back of our jerseys and we’re not gonna.”