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Women’s College Basketball: West Virginia holds off Iowa State, 79-71

This news story was published on February 3, 2020.
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MORGANTOWN, West Virginia – Iowa State (12-8, 4-5 Big 12) could not overcome Ashley Joens’ foul troubles, as the Cyclones fell to West Virginia (14-5, 4-4 Big 12) 79-71 Sunday afternoon at WVU Coliseum.

Joens, who entered the game as the Big 12’s leading scorer, played just seven minutes in the first half after picking up three fouls. When she did return, the Mountaineers had built up a double-figure advantage that the Cyclones could not close until the final minute.

In defeat, ISU was led by Kristin Scott’s 16 points, while Ines Nezerwa notched 13, her most in Big 12 play this season. Joens finished with 11 after only getting one in the first half, and Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw finished with 10.

How it Happened
Both teams enjoyed strong shooting starts to the first quarter, with Rae Johnson and Scott each hitting a pair of 3-pointers, and WVU making three of six from deep and starting out the game on a 6-0 run. The Cyclones struggled to hang onto the ball, committing four first-quarter turnovers. Another problem hit ISU with 2:45 to go in the period, when Ashley Joens picked up her second four of the contest.

The Mountaineers moved ahead by nine, 25-16, on their first possession of the quarter, which prompted head coach Bill Fennelly to recall Joens from the bench. However, she was called for an offensive-foul push-off on her first possession on the court, sending her back to the sidelines. Her teammates did well to keep WVU in range, cutting the deficit to four at 29-25 with a Madison Wise lay-in. West Virginia’s defensive pressure eventually started to affect the visiting Cyclones, as WVU worked ahead by double figures with a Madisen Smith jumper at 39-28.

Down nine to begin the second half, the Cyclone defense was able to keep WVU off the board for a little bit, but the Mountaineers eventually built its biggest lead of the game to 15 at 50-35. The home team had a run of seven-straight possessions scoring, allowing them to build up their advantage. Joens, who had just one first-half point, got five-straight to cut the Mountaineer advantage to 10, but Tynese Martin hit back-to-back threes to establish a new largest lead at 63-46.

Iowa State was able to make a late run back into single digits, with Nezerwa and Joens getting lay-ins to cut the Mountaineer lead to six at 73-67. After committing 17 turnovers in the first three quarters, the Cyclones had just one in the fourth quarter. While ISU was able to get the Mountaineer lead down to six on multiple occasions, West Virginia held its composure at the line, going 8-of-11 in the fourth period, to wrap up the win.

Players of Note
Kristin Scott was important to keeping ISU in the game in the first half, as she got 11 of her 16 in the first 20 minutes.

Ines Nezerwa had her best game in Big 12 play, coming off the bench to contribute 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting and eight rebounds in 20 minutes of action.

Up Next
Iowa State is back at Hilton Coliseum next week, beginning with a Wednesday contest against Oklahoma State. Tip between the Cyclones and Cowgirls will be at 6:30 p.m., with Cyclones.TV Powered by Mediacom broadcasting the contest.

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