AMES, Iowa—Seniors Kathleen Doyle, Makenzie Meyer and Amanda Ollinger made certain that they’d leave Iowa without ever losing to the rival Cyclones.
Doyle scored 21 points, Monika Czinano had 20 and the Hawkeyes beat Iowa State 75-69 on Wednesday, their fourth straight victory over the rival Cyclones.
Meyer scored 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting for the Hawkeyes (7-2), who held Iowa State (6-2) to just 31.9% shooting from the floor.
“I’m really happy for our three seniors. They went 4-0 against Iowa State in their careers. And that’s something because of the respect we have for this program,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said after beating (Iowa State coach Bill) Fennelly four times in a row for the first time in her 19 seasons in Iowa City. “If it wasn’t a very good program, it’s not a big deal. But it’s a big deal to us because Iowa State is such a good program.”
Iowa blew an early nine-point lead heading into the final period. But Meyer came up big when it mattered, following a 3 with a layup to push the Hawkeyes’ lead to 64-55 with 4:33 left.
Ashley Joens had five straight points to pull Iowa State within 66-62. But Czinano beat the shot clock after a key offensive rebound, putting Iowa up six with 47.4 seconds left. Doyle then hit four free throws in the final 10 seconds. She finished 10 of 12 from the line.
“We withstood the runs,” Bluder said. “There’s momentum and shifts in the game, and we didn’t let it get to us.”
Iowa, with the help of an early 11-0 run and 9-of-12 shooting in the second quarter, led 36-29 at halftime. But the Cyclones rallied in the third quarter, as Joens scored nine points in the frame to make it 48-all heading into the fourth. Czinano answered with two quick baskets, and Tomi Taiwo’s 3 put the Hawkeyes back ahead 55-48 in less than thee minutes.
Ollinger had just two points, but she grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds.
“Sometimes the ball just happens to fall your way,” said Ollinger. “Just be aggressive on the boards. That’s all you can do.”
Joens, the only player in America averaging at least 20 points and 10 boards while shooting over 40%, led the Cyclones with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Ines Nezerwa added 18 with 10 rebounds for her first double-double.
But Iowa State also got just two points from their reserves.
“Their bench was very good. Ours was not,” Fennelly said.
Fennelly was on the sidelines despite losing his father, William Fennelly, at the age of 86 earlier Wednesday. The Cyclones honored Fennelly’s dad with a moment of silence before the game.
“It was a hard day. Our family is so connected. My name is the same as my dad’s,” said an emotional Fennelly after the game. “These are tough days. But I’ve been blessed.”
Iowa State: The Cyclones, who entered play averaging 7.4 made 3s a game, went a dreadful 4 of 20 from beyond the arc.
Iowa: This is the kind of win that should go a long way in the eyes of the NCAA Tournament committee. The Hawkeyes aren’t the same team without AP National Player of the Year Megan Gustafson, who graduated after last season, but they look like a group that can be a handful in the Big Ten anyway.
Iowa State hung around late thanks to the free throw line. The Cyclones went 21 of 27 there, and Joens made her last nine after a shaky start. ...Ollinger also had four of Iowa’s nine blocks. ...Kristin Scott had 10 points and nine rebounds for Iowa State. ...Iowa got outrebounded 48-38, as the Cyclones grabbed 22 offensive boards. ...Iowa had 17 assists on 26 baskets. Iowa State had just 11 on 22 made shots.
Iowa has had the upper hand of late, but that could change in the years ahead. Joens has two years left after this one, and the Cyclones have a consensus top-10 recruiting class — by far the best in school history — coming in next fall.
HE SAID IT
“The players, their staff was incredible before and after the game. That’s something I want to make sure everyone knows that and hears, because this rivalry can get a little bit over the top,” Fennelly said of the Hawkeyes. “They couldn’t have been more gracious.”
Iowa State hosts Wright State on Sunday.
Iowa will play North Carolina Central on Saturday.