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Women’s College Basketball: Cyclones keep dancing with 79-75 win over Michigan State

This news story was published on March 23, 2021.
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SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Survive and advance. The Iowa State women’s basketball team (17-10, 12-6 Big 12) did just that Monday night in a 79-75 victory over Michigan State (15-9, 8-7 Big Ten) in the first round of the NCAA Championship.

The win advances the Cyclones to the second round with a match up vs. No. 2-seeded Texas A&M on Wednesday.

Iowa State was able to stave off a Michigan State team that quickly erased a seven-point deficit at the beginning of the fourth quarter and was down by just one point (76-75) with :26 seconds left in the contest.

Iowa State made 6-of-their-last-8 free-throws, including a pair from Lexi Donarski with :26 seconds left and one by Ashley Joens with :02 seconds remaining to ice the victory.

With the season on the line the Cyclones went to their big gun Joens, who was absolutely sensational. The Big 12 leading scorer broke ISU’s NCAA Tournament scoring record by pouring in 33 points, her seventh 30-point outing of the season. Joens also drilled four 3-pointers and grabbed nine boards in the win.

Joens’ 33 points ties for the fifth-most by a Big 12 player in a NCAA Tournament game since 2000.

The Cyclones also received a major boost from off the bench from Madison Wise, who tallied her second double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 caroms. She was 5-of-7 from the field.

ISU also made a big dent with its 3-point shooting, connecting on 9-of-22 from downtown (41.0 percent).

The first quarter went according to plan for the Cyclones. Connecting on 64 percent of its shots from the field, including a 5-of-6 effort from downtown, Iowa State led 26-20 after the first 10 minutes. A key 8-0 run late in the quarter fueled by Wise and Joens 3-pointers allowed the Cyclones to move ahead.

Joens (10 points) and Kristin Scott (seven points) combined for 17 of ISU’s 26 points in the quarter.

MSU opened the second quarter on a 10-2 run to take a 30-28 lead, but the Cyclones quickly answered with an Emily Ryan bomb and a scoop shot from Joens, who was fouled and converted the free-throw to make it 34-30 ISU.
The half ended with the Cyclones owning a 45-39 lead, as Joens had 18 first-half points despite sitting out seven minutes to protect a couple of early fouls.

Joens helped the Cyclones increase their lead to 56-47 with under four minutes remaining in the third stanza by scoring seven of the team’s first 11 points. However, Joens picked up her third foul and Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly made the wise move to sit Joens for the remainder of the period.

With Joens on the bench, the Cyclones remained on top to begin the fourth period at 63-56.

The Spartans briefly tied the game in the fourth quarter, but the Cyclones were able to counter and never gave up the lead for the remaining of the game.

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