Big 12 Basketball

Three Thoughts on Iowa State’s 61-51 Win over Texas

Iowa State's Ashley Joens.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Iowa State Cyclones beat the Texas Longhorns, 61-51, in the Big 12 Women’s Tournament championship game on Sunday. Here are three thoughts on the game.

Iowa State (22-9) will get the automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament. The field will be announced on Sunday night. Iowa State also won its first Big 12 Tournament since 2001.

Texas (25-9) will get an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament.

How Iowa State Won

Well, Ashley Joens, of course. In her final Big 12 game of any kind, she had another incredible game. She finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds, as Texas ran every conceivable defender and switch at her. At one point in the third quarter she drew foul after foul, dribbling around until she found the right lane to drive.

Texas did all it could to lock down Lexi Donarski and Emily Ryan, basically daring Joens to beat them because the Longhorns knew she would get hers. By game’s end, Ryan only had three points, but that one basket was basically the dagger, putting Texas down by 13 points midway through the fourth quarter. Donarski finished with nine points.

Iowa State’s defense won’t get a lot of attention, but it did a great job. It took Texas out of its offensive rhythm the entire game and, after having trouble keeping Texas off the boards in the first quarter, corrected that issue the rest of the game.

How Texas Lost

The defensive excellence that typically serves Texas well didn’t materialize. The Longhorns forced just eight turnovers and Iowa State actually turned them over 14 times. Texas only outrebounded Iowa State by four, which is a surprise if you saw how Texas rebounded in the first quarter.

Texas shot just 33 percent from the floor, but it got nothing out of the 3-point line, going 3-of-14. Texas usually gets good offense inside from DeYona Gaston, but she was frustrated all afternoon and ended up with just eight points. Shaylee Gonzalez and Taylor Jones led Texas with 12 points.

Guard Rori Harmon had six points, nine rebounds and seven assists. But as Texas slipped further and further behind after being outscored 21-12 in the third quarter, it was clear the momentum had swung away from them.

Texas has a great formula for winning. It didn’t work today.

Now On To March Madness

Both Iowa State and Texas were headed to the NCAA Tournament after this game. But it will be interesting to see if Sunday’s game influences seeding at all.

For instance, Iowa State was a No. 5 seed in the latest ESPN Bracketology. Would a win like this — and a run of wins against tournament-bound teams Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas here in Kansas City — be enough to lift the Cyclones to a No. 4 seed and, thereby, a home sub-regional?

Does this loss for Texas put its No. 4 seed in jeopardy? That’s where the Longhorns were in the last Bracketology. How tenuous was Texas’ hold on that spot going into the day?

We’ll find out in just a few hours.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard

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