NCAA Women's Basketball

No. 10 Iowa State women hold off West Virginia 66-60

By AVERY OSEN

Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Emily Ryan and Lexi Donarski each scored 14 points to lead No. 10 Iowa State over West Virginia 66-60 Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament.

After being down by as many as 21 in the third quarter, the Mountaineers clawed back to within in four with 16 seconds to play after Esmery Martinez hit a long 3-pointer.

But Donarski made three free throws in the final minute to thwart West Virginia's comeback hopes.

"Emily is amazing," Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. "There isn't a point guard in the country I'd rather have than her. This kid is a winner."

The Cyclones (26-5) went 11 of 13 from the free-throw line and shot 32% for the game. One of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country, Iowa State hit 11 3s.

"It was definitely easier for us to get shots up in the first half, and they must have said something at halftime because they came out with a different physicality, and continue to hang on and do what we do down the stretch," said Ashley Joens, who had 13 points and 14 rebounds, but was just 4 of 16 from the field.

West Virginia (14-15) shot 25 of 68 (37%), was outrebounded 52-39 and made only three of 20 3-point attempts. Martinez had 18 points and 11 rebounds, Ja'Naiya Quinerly added 15 and Savannah Samuel scored 10.

"To out credit, I thought out girls played tough," West Virginia coach Mike Carey said. "We tried to mix it up, but I don't think they missed a 3 in the second quarter. We had good looks, a lot of good looks, but couldn't put it in the hole."

Midway through the second quarter Iowa State led by two, but a 12-0 run pushed the Cyclones led to 38-24.

"Those three girls (Ryan, Donarski and Joens) are not coming out of a game," Fennelly said. "There's no more load management, we are in March. We have three outstanding players and yeah, they're not coming out of a game unless they ask. Hopefully they'll be playing 40 minutes tomorrow, too."

The Mountaineers played without usually starter Kari Niblack, who averages eight points and four rebounds per game. She was on the bench but there was no explanation for her absence on the court.

The Cyclones went cold in the third quarter, going 1 of 18 at one point, which allowed West Virginia to get back into the game.

"No game is going to be easy, but I thought we did a good job of keep grinding," Ryan said "Obviously we missed a million layups tonight and keep grinding. This is March and you always have to earn it. This is my first time experience with this crowd here in Kansas City and it was rocking in here."

Iowa State and West Virginia played each other in the last week of the regular season, with the Cyclones winning 74-57.

BIG PICTURE

West Virginia: Put up a fight, but too many missed 3s in the first half cost them.

Iowa State: Couldn't hardly miss in the first half, but cooled off quickly. The team's prowess from 3 was on full display in the first 20 minutes with nine made from beyond the arc.

UP NEXT

Iowa State: Will face either No. 3 seed Texas or No. 6 seeded Kansas State on Saturday in the semifinals.

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Updated March 11, 2022

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