Red-hot Iowa State set to face the red-hot Texas Longhorns on Wednesday

Head Coach Bill Fennelly meets with his players during a timeout in a game against Iowa on Dec. 11th.

Iowa State lost its first conference game of the season on Jan. 6 at the hands of the Texas Longhorns in Ames, Iowa. Now, Iowa State has a chance to even the season series on Wednesday.

“We know that we can beat them cause we were right there with them,” sophomore forward Ashley Joens said. “We just have to fix the little things.”

Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Frank C Erwin Special Events Center in Austin, Texas, and it will be aired on the Longhorn Network.

In January’s matchup, Iowa State outscored Texas by 13 in the first and fourth quarters combined but were outscored by Texas 48-29 in the second and third quarters combined, leading to an 81-75 loss to Texas.

That loss doesn’t appear to have affected some players’ confidence heading into the game on Wednesday.

“We can compete with anyone in this league,” junior center Kristin Scott said.

Since then, the Cyclones have managed to stay competitive in the Big 12 and have put themselves back in to NCAA tournament contention.

The Cyclones are 14-8 (6-5 Big 12), which puts them in fourth place out of ten in the Big 12 and the Longhorns are 15-7 (7-3 Big 12), which is third in the Big 12.

Both teams have been hot lately as the Cyclones have won five out of their last seven games and the Longhorns have won six out of their previous seven games.

While the Cyclones are on a hot streak, only one out of those five wins was a road game, a come from behind 64-63 victory over Oklahoma State.

Iowa State is 4-4 in road games this season, while Texas is 8-3 at home this season. Even though Iowa State doesn’t have a winning record in road games, it does have one of the most consistent players in the NCAA with Joens, who could lead it to a victory on any given night.

Joens leads the Big 12 in scoring with 21.2 points per game and is third in the Big 12 with 10.8 rebounds per game.

After capturing gold with a U.S. team in 2018, Ashley Joens won another gold medal at the U19 FIBA World Cup in Thailand.

In nearly half of Iowa State’s game, Joens has earned a double-double, which puts herself at the top of every team’s scouting report for Iowa State. 

Joens suffered a shoulder injury in the third quarter of Saturday’s game against Oklahoma, but it appears that she’ll remain in the starting lineup for Wednesday.

Texas has a double-double threat of its own in sophomore Charli Collier who leads it in scoring with 13.2 points per game (12th in the Big 12) and rebounds with 10.4 per game (fourth in the Big 12).

The main key to victory for Wednesday’s tilt appears to be who can win the turnover battle. The Longhorns are seventh in the Big 12 with a 0.14 turnover margin, while the Cyclones are dead last in the Big 12 with a -3.50 turnover margin.

Turnovers can have such a big impact in this game because both teams have a similar margin in their points per game offense and points per game defense.

The Cyclones have an eight and a half point differential between points per game on offense and defense, which is third in the Big 12. The Longhorns have an eight-point difference between points per game offense and defense, which is fourth in the Big 12.

Both teams are NCAA tournament teams as of right now, according to ESPN’s Charlie Creme’s February 11 bracketology report. Iowa State is listed as an 11 seed and Texas is a seven seed.

Last season, Iowa State escaped Austin with an 82-73 victory.

Source: Iowa State Daily