AMES, IOWA — Bill Fennelly often receives text messages from his players, but when they come from Kidd Blaskowsky, he knows she means what she writes.
“Coach, just tell me what to do,” Blaskowsky will sometimes text her coach. “I’ll do anything you want me to.”
What Fennelly and Iowa State needed from Blaskowsky on Sunday was a spot-start in place of guard Jadda Buckley, who was in a walking boot at Hilton Coliseum nursing a sore right foot. Making her fifth-career start, Blaskowsky delivered and the Cyclones overcame a slow start to dispatch Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 82-56.
“I think it’s just motivating to come in and play the role that I need to play,” Blaskowsky said. “Having Jadda out, that’s a big factor for our team. I just wanted to benefit the team any way I could and get some rebounds and make some shots.”
Iowa State started sluggishly, needing nearly three minutes before it got on the board with a free throw and waiting nearly nine minutes before reaching double-figures. The Cyclones started 1-of-12 from the field as the Golden Lions took an early lead.
The offense — and crowd — was jolted awake midway through the first half with the help of three first-half 3-pointers from Blaskowsky.
“You give credit to our girls, we kind of just never stopped playing,” Brynn Williamson said. “Things might get slow sometimes and you look into the crowd and see some of the fans a little bit bored, but our girls didn’t stop playing.”
The late offensive surge in the first half carried into the second where the Cyclones scored 47 points to cruise to a 26-point victory. Iowa State shot 44.4 percent from the field in the second half including 50 percent (6-of-12) from 3-point range.
The Cyclones were led in scoring by Seanna Johnson, who scored 18 points. In all, four Cyclones scored double-figures.
“When it comes to basketball, if the ball isn’t going in the basket, you’re going to struggle,” Fennelly said. “We just could not get the ball in the basket. We had good looks at it. It was just a really, really slow, painful start to the game. Once we started making shots, then we were much better.”
Blaskowsky, who will likely be counted on to start at least once more before Buckley returns, ended with a season-high 17 points behind 5-of-8 shooting beyond the arc.
“There isn’t anyone that truly cares more about the team and program than Kidd does,” Fennelly said. “She loves playing basketball, she loves playing basketball at Iowa State and it was neat to see her have her moment and play so well.”