Iowa State Falls to North Carolina State

Iowa State won the first half, but North Carolina State overcame its shooting woes to win the game 81-59 in the first round of the Junkanoo Jam's Lucaya division Friday night.

Iowa State won the first half, but North Carolina State overcame its shooting woes to win the game 81-59 in the first round of the Junkanoo Jam's Lucaya division Friday night.

 

"The score didn't indicate how hard we played," ISU head coach Bill Fennelly said. "I was really proud of their effort. We just weren't good enough to win."

 

Behind a solid defensive effort, Iowa State (1-1) shook off an early shooting slump to earn a 24-23 lead at the break. The teams traded baskets to start the game, but ISU would only make two of its next 10 shots to give N.C. State (2-1) an 11-6 lead. Freshman Heather Ezell nailed the Cyclones' first 3-pointer of the game with 10:11 on the clock to knot the score at 11-11.

 

"I gained confidence after the first three," Ezell said. "I was able to find the basket early and get in a rhythm."

 

ISU senior Brittany Wilkins was outstanding in the first half. The 6-3 post player drained a 3-pointer to give her seven points along with five rebounds. The Cyclones closed out the half with just five turnovers, three of which came in the first four minutes of the game.

 

The Wolfpack, which was 0-of-10 from behind the arc in the first half, found the basket in the second half. N.C. State's first six baskets after the break were all 3-pointers, including four from Keisha Brown and two from Ashley Key. The Wolfpack had made just seven treys combined in its first two games, shooting a frigid 17.9 percent on the season.

 

"At half time, our game plan was solid," Fennelly said. "When they started hitting, we made adjustments, changed up the zone. What it came down to was we gave up too many of (the 3-pointers) as second shots."

 

Iowa State kept it close with five second-half 3-pointers, but NCSU extended its lead to double digits (61-51) with 6:51 left and went on to hit three consecutive treys to put the game out of reach. Despite ISU's defensive adjustments, Brown and Key sank 3-pointers seemingly on demand, finishing with eight and six 3-pointers made, respectively.

 

"At first, our main focus was to help inside," Ezell said. "We tried to talk more and get out on a couple more of their players that started to hit them."

 

"We had an 8-10 minute span where we shot ourselves in the foot," Wilkins said. "We were tired and they were making their shots. That shows our inexperience."

 

Lyndsey Medders and Megan Ronhovde, ISU's two returning starters from last year, were a combined 3-of-16 at the half and finished 5-of-25 from the field for the game. Ezell drained 5-of-12 treys en route to a team-best 17 points, while Wilkins added 13.

 

North Carolina State owned the boards with a 49-33 rebounding advantage. Iowa State shot just 33.9 percent in the game while the Wolfpack sank 47 percent from the floor. Brown led all scorers with 26 points, while Key added 22 points and Tiffany Stansbury grabbed 15 rebounds for NCSU.

 

Iowa State will face the loser of the Rutgers-North Florida game in the consolation match on Saturday at 6 p.m. CST.

 


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