The Iowa State Cyclones defeated the Oklahoma Sooners, 89-67, in a Big 12 women’s basketball game at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday.
Iowa State (22-4, 11-3 in Big 12) remained in a first-place tie with Baylor at the top of the Big 12 standings with the victory. The Cyclones are attempting to win a Big 12 regular-season title for the first time in 20 years, and they need to hold serve until they host the Bears on Feb. 28.
Cyclones forward Ashley Joens was honored during the men’s game earlier in the day after becoming Iowa State’s all-time leading scorer when the Cyclones lost to Texas on Wednesday. Joens, in her first home game since breaking the record, gave the home fans a show, scoring 28 points and grabbing nine rebounds in a game where the Cyclones led nearly the entire contest.
Emily Ryan had 15 points and nine assists for the Cyclones, while Lexi Donarski added 14 points.
Oklahoma (20-6, 9-5) lost for the third straight time, and to a ranked team for the second time in three games. Madi Williams was the only Sooners in double figures with 20 points. The Cyclones held 3-point sniper Taylor Robertson to just five points.
Here are our three thoughts from the game.
Now That’s a Bounce-Back
After that awful 48-point outing against Texas on Wednesday, I was interested to see how the Cyclones would bounce back in their second straight game against a ranked team.
After the first quarter, it was clear the Cyclones were just fine.
Iowa State had a 28-16 lead by that point, and the Cyclones never looked back. When you can shoot 63 percent from the floor in the first 10 minutes, that’s usually a sign that you’re going to have a good night.
This is the type of team Iowa State needs to be when they play ranked teams, and the problem is that in their three games against Baylor and Texas, the Cyclones haven’t been this team. Now, I would concede that the Bears and Longhorns are better defensive teams than the Sooners (we’ll get to that). But, this is the game the Cyclones need to bottle up and uncork when they host Baylor in the season’s penultimate game. That may be the difference between the Cyclones winning their first regular-season title in 20 years or watching the Bears raise that hardware once again.
Oklahoma Has a Defensive Problem
Oklahoma is a terrific team to watch on offense. The Sooners’ offense is one of the most electric in the country. The defense? Not so much. And it’s really starting to make an impact.
OU has now lost three straight games. But, if we’re tracking back, that 101-99 double overtime win over West Virginia on Feb. 5 was probably the hint. I mean, the Mountaineers were without leading scorer KK Deans. And the Sooners still gave up 99 points?
After that, the Sooners gave up 78 to Texas in a 78-63 loss. Now, that was a power outage offensively for the Sooners. But, the next game against Texas Tech was a 97-87 loss.
Then, on Saturday night, the Sooners gave up 89 points.
In the last four games the Sooners have allowed 90.8 points per game. Entering the game the Sooners were giving up 76.4 points per game.
During the broadcast, I heard them talk about the fact that OU head coach Jennie Baranczyk wants more defensive intensity and discipline for her team.
That’s not what we saw on Saturday night. And that’s something the Sooners have to fix now. All the offense in the world is great. But the NCAA Tournament requires defense, too.
The Cyclones have a sneaky-tough game coming up against Kansas on Wednesday. The Jayhawks have now won seven straight and are in third place in the Big 12. If Iowa State wants that game with Baylor on Feb. 28 to matter, the Cyclones have to beat the Jayhawks. Meanwhile, Oklahoma now has to find a way to snap its three-game losing streak when they face TCU. For the Sooners, it’s about trying to be no worse than a Top 4 seed in the Big 12 Tournament.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.