Three takeaways: Oklahoma seniors make difference

Freshman Madison Wise taking a shot against the TCU Horned Frogs at the Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 30. 

Noah Rohlfing

Iowa State failed to push its win streak to three on Wednesday night, falling 80-71 to Oklahoma on the road.

The Cyclones got a season-high 22 point outing from senior guard Emily Durr, but Oklahoma’s lights-out second half was enough to drop Iowa State to 12-15 on the year and 6-10 in Big 12 play.

The Cyclones’ loss also confirmed that Iowa State will play on the first day of the Big 12 Tournament (Friday, March 2).

Here are three takeaways from Wednesday night’s loss.

Second half woes

Other than a late-fourth quarter run to get the game within single digits at the buzzer, Iowa State had a terrible, no good, very bad second half. Down 38-35 at the halftime break, the Cyclones were making strides and were in position to potentially pick up a fifth road win in Big 12 play.

But, with 6:41 left in the third quarter, Oklahoma guard-forward Maddie Manning hit two free throws to give Oklahoma a 47-37 lead. From that point, the Cyclones were unable to get back into the game. 

The lead stretched to 73-51 in the Sooners’ favor with five minutes to play before Iowa State began to chip into the deficit, and by that point it was too late to make a complete comeback. 

The Cyclones’ poor second half Wednesday was in stark contrast to their strong performances in the second halves of prior games against Kansas State, TCU, and Oklahoma State. Iowa State only scored 11 points in the third quarter on 26.7 percent shooting, their worst third quarter performance since scoring 11 against TCU on Jan. 30.

Durr and Carleton’s big nights not enough

Emily Durr did her best to try to ruin Oklahoma’s senior night.

Durr hit six 3-pointers and scored 22 points on Wednesday night, setting season highs in both categories. This is Durr’s second straight 20-point game and the senior guard has now scored in double figures in eight of the last nine games. 

Durr’s contribution was not enough to get the Cyclones the win, but she was the Cyclones’ most efficient weapon on the offensive end. Junior guard Bridget Carleton had 19 points of her own, but those points came on 24 shots.

Oklahoma did a good job of making Carleton take difficult shots all night long and prevented her from getting into a rhythm. 

The Cyclones did not have a third scorer in double figures, and despite the positive contributions of Meredith Burkhall (eight points) and Kristin Scott (nine points), Iowa State was unable to match the production of Oklahoma’s balanced attack.

Offensive imbalance has been a problem that has plagued the Cyclones since the beginning of the season, but with only two games remaining, it’s not one that can be totally remedied.

Oklahoma seniors run wild on Cyclones one more time

The balanced attack of the Sooners was once again a difficult matchup for the Iowa State defense.

Oklahoma shot 53.6 percent from the field and a staggering 10-for-13 from the field in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma’s quick guards posed problems in transition for Iowa State’s defenders, and all three of Oklahoma’s starting guards scored in double figures.

Down low, the Cyclones had issues with Vionise Pierre-Louis. The center had 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting and grabbed 11 boards. The Sooners’ ability to control proceedings inside the paint opened up opportunities on the perimeter for Gabbi Ortiz and Manning. 

Before both meetings with the Sooners this year, coach Bill Fennelly mentioned the difficulty of going up against Oklahoma’s quick guards and experienced roster. On Wednesday night, 58 of Oklahoma’s 80 points were scored by seniors. 

This was (barring a matchup in the Big 12 Tournament) the final time that the Cyclones faced Ortiz, Manning, Pierre-Louis, and Shaina Pellington.

Judging by this year’s games, it’s safe to say that Fennelly won’t be too disappointed to see them go.