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AMES — The Iowa State women’s basketball team was already facing a tall task Wednesday night in Big 12 Conference foe Texas. The Longhorns, who were expected to compete with Iowa State and Baylor for a Big 12 crown this, were already off to a strong start to the season.
The job got even more difficult with Iowa State having to play without its biggest star Ashley Joens and her little sister Aubrey both having to sit out of the Top 25 showdown and one of the biggest games of the season for the Cyclones due to the Big 12’s health and safety protocols. Denae Fritz, who has been out with an injury, was also unavailable because of the protocols.
It turned out to be too big of a challenge for the seventh-ranked Cyclones who struggled to generate much offense without their leading scorer Wednesday night and suffered a 66-48 loss to No. 14 Texas at Hilton Coliseum. The loss ended a nine-game winning streak for the Cyclones who fell to 16-2 on the season and 5-1 in Big 12 play this season.
It was a rare hiccup in the season for Iowa State which was enjoying its best start in program history and searching for just its second 6-0 start in league play and first since the 1999-2000 season. Iowa State’s only other loss this season came during a 69-60 setback at Louisiana State back on Dec. 2, 2021. The Cyclones had both Joens sisters in that game but not on Wednesday night. Instead, the two watched Wednesday’s game in separate rooms at a local hotel.
Iowa State missed them both during their most lopsided loss of the season.
Ashley Joens, who is in her fourth season starting, leads the Cyclones in points (20.3) and rebounds (9.5) per game. Aubrey, a sophomore, has become a valuable contributor for the Cyclones who has started 15 games this season. Without the two and with Texas' physical defense, Iowa State struggled to do much offensively.
The Cyclones, who didn't tally their first field goal over five minutes into the game, shot just 13% (2-of-16) from the field in the first quarter. Iowa State was able to get on track, briefly in the second quarter with a 3-pointer by Nyamer Diew to tie the game 18-18. After that, Texas was in control for most of the night.
The Longhorns hit their final four shots of the second quarter and took a 39-30 lead into halftime. It only got worse for the Cyclones as Texas opened the third quarter with a 7-0 run and took a commanding 46-30 lead. Iowa State never could get into a rhythm and never could recover. The Cyclones turned it over xx times and were outscored 26-12 in the paint.
It doesn't get any easier for Iowa State which plays at No. 16 Baylor on Sunday.
Tommy Birch, the Register's sports enterprise and features reporter, has been working at the newspaper since 2008. He's the 2018 and 2020 Iowa Sportswriter of the Year. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-284-8468. Follow him on Twitter @TommyBirch.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Iowa State women's basketball, without Joens sisters, loses to Texas