Three Big Takeaways: Creighton’s shooting ends historic Iowa State season


Iowa State women’s basketball players wave to the crowd at Hilton Coliseum after the Cyclones’ 78-71 win over UT Arlington in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on March 18.

Andrew Harrington

Two similar-style teams in Iowa State women’s basketball and Creighton clashed in a three-point shootout on Friday that ended with the Bluejays advancing to the Elite Eight with a 76-68 win.

The magical tournament run for Creighton continues as it has now beaten No. 2 seed Iowa and No. 3 seed Iowa State on its way to the Elite Eight. On the other side, the Cyclones were very emotional after the game.

Bill Fennelly said after the game, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Historic Season is Over

The ending was not as the Cyclones had hoped, but this season was certainly one to remember for Iowa State women’s basketball.

The Cyclones broke the school record for wins in a season with 28, contended with Baylor for the Big 12 regular season title and made the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2010.

Fennelly made it clear ahead of the postseason that no matter when the season ended, this is one of the teams that he has been the proudest to coach.

After the loss to Creighton, he backed up this statement.

“It was an honor to coach this Iowa State team,” Fennelly said.

If this is it…

Ashley Joens just wrapped up her fourth season with the Cyclones, and Friday could have been her final game in an Iowa State uniform.

Joens finished the season as the school’s leader in career points, won a Cheryl Miller award for being the best small forward in the country in 2021 and has averaged at least 20 points per game in each of the last three seasons.

Joens has repeatedly made it clear that she will not make a decision on her future until the season is over. She has the option to either enter the WNBA draft or come back to play a fifth and final season with the Cyclones.

That time has come and all eyes will be on her until she makes an announcement.

The long-awaited moment came after the game as she was asked if she has made a decision. She said that she had not started to think about it yet, but will make a decision “soon.”

Masked Diew

The Cyclones have been searching for a fourth big-time scorer to get them through games where the rest of the offense is struggling. Fennelly said prior to the game that Nyamer Diew, Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw and Aubrey Joens could each be candidates to fill this role.

Diew broke her nose in Iowa State’s second round game against Georgia. The team had its chance to make jokes about it prior to the game, but she showed what she can do during the game.

Despite the loss, Diew put on a gutsy performance. Being just a sophomore, fans can expect a few more years of games like this.

Diew is just one of the members of the sophomore class that the Cyclones can look forward to. Emily Ryan, Lexi Donarski and Aubrey Joens are also in this class.

While this is not the ending Fennelly had hoped for, he is proud of what the Cyclones accomplished this season.