Iowa State women's basketball team's quest for Big 12 title takes hit with loss at K-State

Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly has had to lean on Emily Ryan, Lexi Donarski and Ashley Joens this season.

The No. 12 Iowa State women’s basketball team suffered a setback in its pursuit of a Big 12 title Wednesday, losing 78-77 at Kansas State.

Iowa State, which entered the day tied with Texas for first place in the conference, fell to 15-5 on the season and 7-3 in Big 12 play. Texas, with its win over West Virginia Wednesday night, now has first place all to itself.

The Cyclones have eight regular-season games remaining, including a showdown at home against Texas on Feb. 13. They have some work to do to get back to the top of the standings.

Wednesday night was an opportunity for the Cyclones to extend their four-game winning streak. But the Cyclones battled foul trouble and couldn’t slow down a second-half surge by Kansas State (14-9, 3-7 Big 12).

Iowa State star Ashley Joens finished with 17 points and four rebounds after being in foul trouble most of the evening and fouling out late in the game. Iowa State's Nyamer Diew, who finished with 14 points off the bench, also fouled out. Cyclones guard Lexi Donarski, who tallied 18 points, spent a big chunk of the game in foul trouble.

Kansas State outscored the Cyclones 22-17 in the third quarter and took a one-point lead into the final frame. The lead grew to seven points. Iowa State continually fought back but couldn’t close the gap. Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer left Iowa State one point short.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Iowa State women's basketball team suffers upset loss at Kansas State