Ashley Joens scored an Iowa State NCAA Tournament record 33 points, including the clinching free throw with 3.1 seconds left, to lift the Cyclones to a 79-75 women’s opening-round win over Michigan State on Monday.
Iowa State made 8 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter and 6 of 8 in the final 1:41 to hold off the 10th-seeded Spartans, who trailed by 10 with 1:40 to play in the third quarter. That was the only time the lead reached double figures and it last for 13 seconds.
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The seventh-seeded Cyclones will play second-seeded and fourth-ranked Texas A&M in the second round of the Mercado Region on Wednesday.
Madison Wise gave the Cyclones (17-10) a 13-point, 11-rebound double-double off the bench, Kristin Scott added 12 points and Lexi Donarski 10.
Emily Ryan made two free throws and Joens one after a 3-pointer by Julia Ayrault pulled MSU within 73-71 with 1:47 to play.
Ayrault made a layup with just over a minute to go and Alyza Winston made another at 25.6 seconds, cutting it to 76-75. But Donarski, a freshman, made two free throws with 22.8 seconds to go and Joens then rebounded Michigan State’s last miss and clinched the game.
Nia Clouden scored 16 points for the Spartans (15-9), Winston had 11, and Taiyier Parks nine with 11 rebounds.
Joens scored 18 points, hitting three of the Cyclones’ seven 3-pointers, to help build a 45-39 halftime lead. Joens was the difference as Iowa State led by seven when she went out with her second foul with a minute left in the first quarter and trailed by one when she returned three minutes into the second.
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Michigan State: The Spartans had nine different starting lineups this year with Clouden the only player to start every game. The injuries continued in the NCAA Tournament with Mo Joiner leaving the game with 3:01 left when she tried to take a charge on Joens and hit the back of her head on the floor. Ayrault came in and made two key baskets down the stretch.
Iowa State: Joens had her seventh 30-point game of the season. … The Cyclones have appeared in 18 NCAA Tournaments, all under veteran coach Bill Fennelly. … Among the notable numbers for ISU this season: ending Baylor’s 61-game home winning streak and making a school-record 19 3-pointers (on 40 attempts) in a 99-72 win at Texas Tech.
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