No. 5 Iowa State cruises past Michigan State 80-49

Nov 24, 2022, 4:32 AM | Updated: 7:31 pm

Iowa State guard Emily Ryan (11) celebrates after scoring a 3-pointer against Michigan State during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Phil Knight Invitational tournament Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(11)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Stephanie Soares seems to be adjusting just fine to playing at a higher level of competition, much to the benefit of Iowa State.

Soares matched her season high with 23 points and added 11 rebounds and six blocks as No. 5 Iowa State rolled past Michigan State 80-49 on Thursday night in the semifinals of the Phil Knight Invitational.

Soares, a 6-foot-6 transfer from The Master’s where she was a two-time NAIA national player of the year, dominated on the interior, making 10 of 14 shots.

“She’s not there yet but the physicality at this level is something she hasn’t seen, but every day she’s gotten better. Our strength and conditioning coach has done a great job,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “The kid loves to play. She plays with a smile on her face and obviously she has a unique skill set for the women’s game.”

Emily Ryan added 17 points and eight assists, and the Cyclones cruised despite an off shooting night by leading scorer Ashley Joens, the Big 12 preseason player of the year. Joens was averaging 25.5 points, but managed just eight.

Iowa State (5-0) began the week ranked in the top five of the AP Top 25 for the first time sine Dec. 31, 2001, when the program reached its highest ranking in school history at No. 4. The Cyclones will have a chance to make a case for a higher ranking with a top-10 matchup against North Carolina in the championship game on Sunday.

Fennelly noted there will be two matchups between Iowa State and North Carolina this weekend with the two men’s teams meeting in the semifinals of that tournament on Friday.

“They’re a top-10 team for a reason and it’ll be a great challenge,” he said. “But like I told our kids, you’re playing a great program in an NBA arena for a championship. Doesn’t get much better than that.”

DeeDee Hagemann led Michigan State (6-1) with 14 points and Kamaria McDaniel added 11. The Spartans played without leading scorer Matilda Ekh, who was in her native Sweden due to national team commitments. The school expects her to rejoin the team in time for Sunday’s third-place game. Ekh is averaging 11.2 points.

The Cyclones were dominant in the first half, taking a 37-17 halftime lead. Michigan State struggled shooting in the first half, making just 6 of 30 shots and went nearly the final seven minutes of the second quarter without a made basket. Michigan State missed its first 12 3-point attempts before Stephanie Visscher hit the team’s first in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.

“I thought we defended better than we have all year and that’s been a struggle for us, perimeter defense. But tonight, I felt we were really good,” Fennelly said.

BIG PICTURE

Iowa State: The Cyclones showed they can be more than just Joens offensively. Nine of the 12 Iowa State players that saw time scored. Joens had led the Cyclones in scoring in three of four games this season.

Michigan State: The Spartans had shot 49% from the field through their first six games, so the bad shooting night was an outlier that could be more an indication about the quality of opponent. Not having Ekh was a big loss with her team-leading 18 3-pointers on the season.

UP NEXT

Iowa State: The Cyclones will face No. 8 North Carolina in the championship game on Sunday.

Michigan State: The Spartans will face No. 18 Oregon in the third-place game on Sunday.

___

AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a news conference ahead of the Super Bowl 57 football ...
Associated Press

NFL Commissioner Goodell tackles diversity, concussions

PHOENIX (AP) — From diversity to concussions, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated the league is still looking for improvement. As for officiating, he says: “it’s never been better.” Goodell addressed those topics and more, including the Washington Commanders’ investigation, flex scheduling and international play in his annual Super Bowl news conference Wednesday. DeMeco Ryans became […]
15 hours ago
CORRECT ID TO MICHAEL SKUBALA , NOT SIMON HOOPER  - Leeds United's interim head coach Michael Skuba...
Associated Press

Man United stages fightback to draw 2-2 with Leeds in EPL

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United fought back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Leeds in the Premier League on Wednesday. Substitute Jadon Sancho rescued a point for Erik ten Hag’s team, which missed the chance to move level on points with second-place Manchester City. Leeds fired Jesse Marsch on Monday. It is […]
15 hours ago
Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones speaks to the media during the NFL football Super B...
Associated Press

Chiefs’ Jones sets sack standard for Kansas City defense

PHOENIX (AP) — Chris Jones claims to have very little memory of a relatively benign game in 2017, when the Kansas City Chiefs welcomed the Philadelphia Eagles to Arrowhead Stadium for the second game of the regular season. Jason Kelce remembers it quite well. The veteran Philadelphia center spent the afternoon lining up alongside Isaac […]
2 days ago
Buffalo Bills' Damar Hamlin speaks after being introduced as the winner of the Alan Page Community ...
Associated Press

Hamlin appears during Super Bowl event to receive award

PHOENIX (AP) — Damar Hamlin made a brief appearance in Phoenix during Super Bowl week to receive the NFLPA’s Alan Page Community Award. The Buffalo Bills safety received the award at the Phoenix Convention Center on Wednesday, a little over a month after he went into cardiac arrest and needed to be resuscitated on the […]
2 days ago
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes answers a question during an NFL football Super Bowl...
Associated Press

Chiefs’ Mahomes says ankle will be ready for Super Bowl

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes says he’s “definitely in a better spot” when it comes to his ailing right ankle than he was for the AFC championship game, and the All-Pro quarterback doesn’t expect to be limited by it when he leads the Kansas City Chiefs against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl. […]
2 days ago
FILE - Las Vegas Aces' Dearica Hamby (5) dribbles up court during a WNBA basketball game against th...
Associated Press

WNBA investigating Hamby’s allegations against Aces

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The WNBA is investigating Dearica Hamby’s allegations that the Las Vegas Aces bullied and manipulated her for being pregnant, the league said in a statement Wednesday. It was the first time the league acknowledged it was looking into the situation. The players’ union had pushed for an inquiry into whether Hamby’s […]
2 days ago
No. 5 Iowa State cruises past Michigan State 80-49