Three Big Takeaways: Cyclones finish regular season on a high note


Jacob Rice/Iowa State Daily

Emily Ryan drives past Baylor’s Jaden Owens on Feb. 28 in Hilton Coliseum.

Andrew Harrington

A gritty, defensive 74-57 win over West Virginia on Saturday allowed Iowa State women’s basketball to finish the regular season on the right note.

The win allows the Cyclones to remain in contention for a share of the Big 12 regular season title, needing a Baylor loss to Texas Tech on Sunday in order to pull it off.

The win moves Iowa State to 25-5, 14-4 in Big 12 play, marking the most Big 12 wins in a season over the team’s history. The Cyclones also earned their seventh Big 12 season sweep of the year, which is something that is important to the team.

Ryan controls the offense

When all else was failing for the Cyclones, the team relied on Emily Ryan to control the offense and she came through in a big way.

Ryan finished her night with a career-high 29 points on 10-12 shooting after making a pair of late free throws from West Virginia head coach Mike Carey’s ejection.

This was much needed for the Cyclones as no other player scored more than 12 points.

Ryan has stepped on the gas in Big 12 play, earning her 11th consecutive game in double figures.

Lineup changes

On the other side of the ball, Iowa State held the Mountaineers to 16 or less in each of the four quarters. The offensive spark from Ryan is what allowed Iowa State to pull away.

Prior to the game Saturday, Fennelly discussed how the physicality that West Virginia shares with team’s that have caused them problems such as Texas and Baylor.

“You can’t combat size in the women’s game as easily as you can in the men’s game sometimes. The physicality on the perimeter, I think what happens is as the season goes on they call less fouls and you just have to deal with it,” Fennelly said.

To combat this, Iowa State made some changes to the starting lineup and the bench rotation.

Nyamer Diew got the start for the Cyclones, subbing in in hopes of combating the physicality of West Virginia. Diew performed well in the increased role, dropping 9 points on a trio of three-pointers.

The Cyclones made just two field goals in the first quarter, totaling just eight points. Struggling in the first quarter, Fennelly searched for any option to get out of the slump.

One of these changes was Maggie Vick seeing some time in the post.

Fennelly also may have used this game as a way to see which lineups work well together and which ones do not ahead of the postseason.

Here comes the post-season

Fennelly has made it clear that his team was solely focused on the matchup with West Virginia, but now that it is behind them, they can look forward to the Big 12 Tournament.

The next matchup for the team will come on Friday at 5 p.m. versus the winner of a game between TCU and West Virginia. Both of these teams have suffered a pair of double-digit losses to the Cyclones this year.

Another thing to watch out for down the road is that the Cyclones could potentially go up against Texas and Baylor, both teams that have caused the Cyclones trouble, in a possible Big 12 title run.