The Texas Longhorns grabbed a nine-point halftime lead, started the second half on a 7-0 run and then cruised to a 66-48 win over Iowa State Wednesday night, as the No. 15 Longhorns cut into the No. 7 Cyclones’ lead in the Big 12 Women’s Basketball race.
The Longhorns (13-3, 3-2 in Big 12) looked more like themselves, shooting 44 percent from the floor and exploiting their size advantage inside, as DeYona Gaston led the Longhorns with 14 points and five blocked shots.
Texas handed Iowa State (16-2, 5-1) its first Big 12 loss and cut the Cyclones’ Big 12 lead to one game. Texas also extended its win streak over Iowa State to four games, dating back to the beginning of Big 12 play last season.
But, the expected matchup between two fully-stocked Top 15 teams received a curveball hours before tip-off.
On midday Wednesday Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register reported that Iowa State’s Ashley Joens, Aubrey Joens and Denae Fritz would miss the game due to COVID-19 Health and Safety protocols. Iowa State confirmed that in a tweet about two hours before game time. Ashley Joens averages 20.3 points and 9.5 rebounds, while Aubrey Joens averages 9.4 points and 6.9 rebounds.
Texas didn’t have forward Lauren Ebo, who was ruled out before the game, per the Austin American-Statesman’s Danny Davis. That put freshman Aaliyah Moore back in the starting lineup for the first time in two months.
That left both teams without their leading rebounders. It also left Iowa State without two players that combine for nearly 30 points and 16 rebounds.
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Without the Joens sisters, Iowa State’s offense went through guard Emily Ryan and Lexi Donarski, who are Iowa State’s second and third-leading scorers. Both had good games, with Ryan scoring 19 points and Donarski scoring 14 points. But, the pair combined for 33 of ISU’s 48 total points. ISU shot 27.9 percent from the floor and made more free throws (19) than field goals (12).
Texas focused its intense man-to-man defense on those two players and added a full-court press after made baskets to make it harder for Iowa State to inbound the ball. ISU ended up committing 15 turnovers, and Texas turned those into 15 points. Texas also had a 36-28 edge on the glass.
For the Longhorns, Moore had eight points and four rebounds in her first start in Big 12 action. Harmon had eight points, while Aliyah Matharu had eight points. Audrey Warren finished with five points and left the game in the fourth quarter after suffering an injury after a drive to the basket. She had to be helped off the floor. Ten different Longhorns scored.
Iowa State and Texas meet against Feb. 16 in Austin. Texas will be at TCU at 1 p.m. Saturday.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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