Iowa State locks down Oklahoma from start to finish


Jacob Rice/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State guard Lexi Donarski looks for a pass in the Cyclones’ 76-58 win over Oklahoma State on Feb. 5.

Andrew Harrington

Iowa State women’s basketball shut down a normally electric Oklahoma offense to claim a dominant 89-67 win Saturday night.

Coming off a blowout loss to Texas on Wednesday, the Cyclones appreciated the quick turnaround for a shot at redemption. Head coach Bill Fennelly often stresses the importance of looking forward to the next game and focusing on playing their style of basketball, and his team did just that.

The Sooners have specialized in offense this season and average over 85 points per game as a team, but the Cyclones have had the formula for success in the teams’ two meetings this year.

Taylor Robertson, who averages 17 points per game this season, managed to score just five points on only four shot attempts.

Robertson holds the all-time record for single season three-pointers, but she could not find a way to get open on Saturday.

“It just puts a lot more pressure on maybe some of the other kids that don’t get as many shots,” Fennelly said.

After being held scoreless on Wednesday Lexi Donarski totaled 14 points, including eight in the first quarter.

Donarski was the primary defender on Robertson, and her efforts did not go un-noticed by the Cyclones. Fennelly has even stated in the past that she may be the best on-ball defender in college basketball.

This defensive presence is something that is very important to Donarski, as she feels that the defensive side of the ball is as big a part of her game as any.

“I take a lot of pride in my defense. I like the challenge of guarding the other team’s best guard, and I just do my best to make sure that the shots they are getting are really contested and difficult shots,” Donarski said.

While Donarski was the star of the defense, Fennelly said that defense does not come down to one player and that all five people have to be successful.

“Our team defense has gotten better, we did a much better job of keeping the ball in front of us,” Fennelly said. “We’ve never figured out how to guard the free-throw line, so we don’t want to foul you.”

Donarski was thrilled to get back to her usual level of performance, mentioning after the game that Robertson is one of the better shooters in the Big 12 so it was important for her to shut her down.

Oklahoma has struggled defensively this season, and the Cyclones took advantage of that on Saturday. Ashley Joens shouldered the majority of the scoring duties as she dropped 28 points, but the team as a whole was finding ways to score.

The crowd got behind the high-powered offense, helping keep the team energized the whole way. Oklahoma head coach Jennie Baranczyk felt that the crowd was a difference-maker in the way the game played out.

“We faced some Hilton Magic today,” Baranczyk said. “This is an incredible place to play, and it’s a standard for women’s basketball in terms of the atmosphere and this is one that we want to build in Norman.”

One of the biggest points of emphasis for Iowa State has been finding a way to go 2-0 on the season against Big 12 teams and avoiding going 0-2 against anyone. The Cyclones completed the season sweep of Oklahoma, and Fennelly understands the importance of winning games like these.

“Sweeps are big. Some are bigger than others because it’s a team that’s right with you in the standings,” Fennelly said. “We beat a really good team, and to have two wins over them says a lot about what this group did.”

Up next, the Cyclones will hit the road for a matchup with Kansas at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night. The game will be broadcast on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.