How It Happened
The Cyclone offense struggled to find its rhythm from the outset against a scrappy Auburn defense. Despite generating a number of open looks, Iowa State opened the game 1-of-13 from the field, missing its first eight shots from beyond the 3-point line. Carleton helped right the ship after the slow start, scoring seven points in the opening quarter to help close the gap to 18-13 after 10 minutes.
Iowa State clawed to within 24-21 on a Madison Wise layup midway through the second quarter, but a 12-0 Auburn run ensued, book-ended by triples from Janiah McKay and Emari Jones. Joens and Wise responded with treys of their own to stop the run, but Auburn still led 38-29 at the intermission.
A 10-0 Cyclone run early in the third quarter brought the Hilton Coliseum crowd to its feet. Joens and Wise each knocked down triples to narrow the deficit to just 41-39 with 6:34 to play in the period. Wise would later tie the game at 45-45 with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the quarter.
It was the beginning of a 13-0 spurt, with Iowa State taking his first lead of the night on yet another Joens triple just nine seconds into the fourth quarter. The Tigers climbed back to within two at 56-54 with 4:28 to play, but Carleton and Alexa Middleton combined to score 10 straight to extend the lead
Late-game heroics from Auburn’s Janiah McKay ensued, as the Tiger guard hit three triples in 47 seconds, the last of which tied the game at 64-64 with 41 seconds to play. However, Carleton had the last word, with a game-winning drive to the basket for a lay-in with nine seconds remaining. She also swatted McKay’s final shot attempt out of bounds in the closing moments to secure the 67-64 win.
Players of Note
Ashley Jones scored a career-high 18 points, including five treys, in 33 minutes. She scored six points in ISU’s 13-0 run that turned the tide in the third and fourth quarters.
Bridget Carleton was outstanding once again. She did a little bit of everything with 15 points and team-highs of 13 rebounds, eight assists and two blocks.
Madison Wise put up 13 points and seven rebounds on the night while playing all 40 minutes.
Iowa State will take on the winner of Thursday’s Marquette vs. Miami semifinal game. The Preseason WNIT championship game will be played Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at Hilton Coliseum.