FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Coach Bill Fennelly thought the extra pass helped the No. 9 Iowa State women match a season high in 3-pointers.
Credit Emily Ryan for at least a few of those open looks.
Ashley Joens scored a season-high 32 points while Ryan recorded a career-best 17 assists, leading the Cyclones to a 93-70 win over TCU on Saturday for their fifth consecutive win.
Lexi Donarski added 16 points while combining with Joens to go 10 of 20 from 3-point range as the Big 12-leading Cyclones (21-3, 10-2) went 19 of 36 from deep.
Joens matched her season with high with six 3s while the team equaled its best from a 108-39 win over Prairie View A&M.
“I think the biggest thing is we made the one extra pass,” Fennelly said after the Cyclones clinched the best 24-game start in school history. “We went from a good look to a great look. We have not seen a lot of zone this year, so we worked on it really hard leading up to today.”
After hitting all six of her 3s when Iowa State beat Oklahoma State in its most recent game a week ago, Ryan was 4 of 6 behind the arc for 14 points while beating her previous best for assists by one from a victory over West Virginia in early January.
“The kid is, in my opinion, the best point guard in our league,” Fennelly said. “She gets the ball to the right people. Great offensive balance today, and a lot of the offensive balance is predicated on where Emily delivers the ball.”
Lauren Heard had 17 points and seven assists for the Horned Frogs (6-15, 2-10), who matched their longest losing streak in five years with a seventh consecutive loss.
Joens, who had 14 rebounds, scored to start a 10-0 run late in the first half for Iowa State’s first 10-point lead. Joens and Donarski each hit a 3 during the burst.
The Horned Frogs were back within four early in the third quarter when Donarski connected from deep to start an 11-2 spurt for a 53-40 lead. Joens, who was 13 of 21 overall and 6 of 12 from long range, later back back-to-back 3s to push the lead to 17.
“I thought we did a pretty good job on (Joens) in the interior in the way that she scores there, and she had to move out to the perimeter more,” TCU coach Raegan Pebley said. “In our preparation we focused more on having to stop her with her interior stuff and maybe needed to spend more time on that perimeter.”
Iowa State: The 3-pointer has been important for the Cyclones all season, and one of the most efficient games of the season from deep helped build a cushion against a team they beat by 31 at home last month. Iowa State shot 52% from deep with its previous conference high of 12 made 3s (in 23 attempts) in a 73-70 win over Kansas State. The Cyclones were at 53% this time.
TCU: The Horned Frogs are in danger of finishing with their fewest wins since a 2-25 record in 1995-96 finished a two-year stretch with a 3-52 record. In two seasons since three consecutive 20-win campaigns, TCU is 16-30 under Pebley, who is in her eighth year.
Iowa State leads a pack of four Big 12 teams in a span of eight spots in The Associated Press rankings, and it should stay that way. The Cyclones will see the other three (No. 16 Texas, 12th-ranked Oklahoma and No. 10 Baylor, in that order) over their five remaining regular-season games. Iowa State’s two conference losses were to the Longhorns and Bears, by an average of 17 points.
Iowa State: The Cyclones return to Texas to face the Longhorns on Wednesday. Their 66-48 loss to Texas at home on Jan. 19 ended a nine-game winning streak.
TCU: The first of consecutive games against Baylor is at Waco on Wednesday.
More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25