Big 12 Basketball

Iowa State vs. Toledo NCAA Women’s Basketball Preview, Prediction

Iowa State guard/forward Ashley Joens.

Here is everything you need to know about Iowa State and Toledo in our Cyclones vs. Rockets NCAA Tournament women’s basketball preview.

NCAA Tournament

Seattle Region 3 – First Round

No. 5 Iowa State (22-9) vs. No. 12 Toledo (28-4), Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, TN

Game Info: 2:30 p.m. CT, Saturday, ESPN2

How They Got Here:

Iowa State won the Big 12 Tournament to earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.  Toledo won the Mid-American Conference Tournament to earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Winner gets: A second-round game against the winner of the game between No. 4 Tennessee and No. 13 Saint Louis.


Projected starting lineups

Iowa State: G Ashley Joens, G Lexi Donarski, G Emily Ryan, G Denae Fritz, F Morgan Kane.

Toledo: G Khera Goss, G/F Sammi Mikonowicz, G Sophia Wiard, F Jessica Cook, G/F Quinesha Lockett.

Player to watch

Iowa State

G Ashley Joens: The accolades continue to roll in for the fifth-year senior after she led the Cyclones to the Big 12 Tournament title, the program’s first in more than 20 years (Joens was barely a year old the last time ISU won one). She earned USBWA Second-Team All-American and AP Third-Team All-American honors earlier this week. During the Big 12 Tournament Joens became the 14th player in Division I women’s basketball history to record at least 3,000 points in her career. She enters her final NCAA Tournament averaging 21.5 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. The opponent’s job is to slow Joens down. She showed in the Big 12 Tournament — where she was named the Most Outstanding Player — that is easier said than done.



G Quinesha Lockett: Just like Joens, if you intend to slow down the Rockets, it starts with Lockett, who was the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year as a senior. It’s not a big surprise. She’s been on this track for a couple of seasons. She was an All-MAC Third-Team pick in 2020-2 and an All-MAC First-Team pick in 2021-22, the latter of which came after she passed the 1,000-point mark for her career. Lockett averaged 17.7 points per game this season, shooting 45.4 percent from the field and 77 percent from the free-throw line. She’s also averaging 4.7 rebounds per game, is second on the team in assists with 116 and leads the Rockets with 40 steals.

Key storylines

Iowa State

Some of the players that the Cyclones have on their roster weren’t even born when the program won its last Big 12 Tournament title, a nod to just how difficult it is to win that league crown. This will be the program’s 16th NCAA Tournament appearance since that Big 12 Tournament title back in 2001. Back in 2001, the Cyclones reached the Sweet 16. The Cyclones also reached the Sweet 16 last season. It was a bumpy road to get the No. 3 seed at the Big 12 Tournament after losing 6-foot-6 center Stephanie Soares for the season in January to a torn ACL. But ISU has won its last four games, and five of its last season, going into the NCAA Tournament.



The Rockets will make their ninth NCAA Tournament appearance this season under coach Tricia Cullop. The first time the Rockets made the NCAA Tournament was back in 1991 when the program was led by current Cyclones head coach Bill Fennelly. He led the Rockets to three appearances from 1991-95 before taking the Iowa State job. This season the Rockets have been led by Lockett, Mikonowicz (10.4 points, 8.2 rebounds) and Wiard (10.1 points, 5.3 rebounds). The Rockets have been hard to beat all season. They lost just two MAC games, and before that fell to Duke and Penn State. But, Toledo scored a major coup in December with a win over then-No. 14 Michigan. It’s the Rockets’ only ranked win of the season.  


Iowa State 73, Toledo 69. Iowa State has tons of NCAA Tournament experience and a taller front line (Toledo starts one player taller than 6-foot). This won’t be an easy win for ISU, but the possibility of playing one of the women’s game’s blue bloods in the second is a tantalizing carrot to play well.       

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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