Iowa State wasted no time in defeating Columbia in a dominant show Sunday morning. A powerful offense was led by the Cyclones’ nearly unstoppable backcourt.
The offensive continued its 88-point effort against northern Iowa by putting up 99 points against the Lions. The win puts Iowa State 4-0 on its way to the Phil Knight Invitational this season.
As the upcoming competition begins to intensify, the state of Iowa will need the backcourt to pull off such feats.
“I think when people scout us, they’re going to look and say, ‘Okay, how are you protecting her?'” said head coach Bill Fennelly.
The Cyclones were hot from the opening tip, with senior Ashley Joens scoring 14 points in the first quarter. The guards nailed step-back threes and attacked the basket, popping out to an early double-digit lead.
After the state of Iowa leapt forward, it never took its foot off the gas. Joens ended her day with 33 points, going seven for ten from the three-point line. Junior Emily Ryan also hit double digits and scored 13 points herself.
The Cyclones’ 12 threesomes helped create a breakup with Columbia. After a brief spell of erratic shooting in the first few games of this season, Iowa State has picked up steam.
“Once you’ve put down a few shots, you gain your confidence and you see the ball go in the basket a little more,” said Joens.
When the guards didn’t score themselves, they found ways to distribute the floor. Ryan directed the court with nine assists, using skillful movements and quick passes to find an open player.
The backcourt also threw the ball down low, helping secure points under the basket and creating scoring chances when the defense collapsed.
“We kind of figured that when they look in, the ball will be open on the three-point line. And if they don’t help, that post-up will be open,” said senior Stephanie Soares, trailing Joens by 15 points.
“[The backcourt] I’ve been looking inside really well, and when it’s not there, it’s a nice (pass) three-pointer wide open,” Soares said.
The win was an example of a second straight strong offensive performance for the Cyclones.
Despite its ability to score, Iowa State was marginalized against Northern Iowa, but Columbia struggled to rise to a challenge. 23-point blowout wins will be rare for the Cyclones throughout the season.
Iowa State is expected to face Michigan State in the first game of the Phil Knight Invitational, giving the Cyclones their toughest challenge yet.
But if Iowa State’s offense can click, it can hit anyone.
“They want to make a deal, Emily Ryan and Lexi Donarski are off the table,” Fennelly said. “They are competitive, they lead, their teammates trust them, their coaches trust them. That will be a big driver of where this team is going.”
The wins are getting tougher and the competition is getting tougher; Iowa State is going to need its backcourt to have these types of games.