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OSU a victim to comeback shushing shooting

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Luke Lu[]Iowa State Athletic Communication - D5A_9034.jpg

Lexy Keys scooped up the pass and lined up a shot in one quick motion, swishing a 3-pointer that cut the Iowa State lead to five with just under five minutes remaining.

Immediately after Keys’ swish though, Iowa State answered – scoring a 3-pointer of its own just seconds later.

Every time Oklahoma State tried to fan the flames of a comeback on Wednesday night in Aimes by scoring a basket, the spark was extinguished by an Iowa State triple. The Cowgirls lost 90-80 in their sixth Big 12 game of the year, falling to Iowa State

“It’s hard when you go down and run pretty good offense and you get a two, and then you trade a three for two,” coach Jim Littell said. “I wasn’t very good in math but that amounts up after a while.”

Iowa State (8-4, 4-1 Big 12) shot 16 for 33 (49%) from deep — three makes shy of a program record established last week. Seven different Cyclone players made a shot from long range, and junior guard Ashley Joens led the way with 30 points.

“We didn’t do a good enough job of guarding the three,” Littell said. “We had talked about it with our team, but it’s just hard to simulate how close you have to be to Iowa State and the way that you have to play with high hands because they can shoot it.”

Although the barrage of threes rained down on the Cowgirls kept them at bay most of the night, but solid offense by OSU kept the game competitive.

Junior forward Natasha Mack had a career-high 34 points. She was a dominant presence around the rim for OSU all night and helped the Cowgirls get a 48-20 edge in points in the paint.

Sophomore guard Lauren Fields and junior center Kassidy De Lapp were solid offensively in their returns from a COVID-induced leave of absence. Fields had nine points on 33% shooting, and De Lapp made 3-of-4 shots in the post.

Although they suffered their first loss in conference play, there were some positives to emerge for the Cowgirls in their trip to Aimes.

“I’m proud of our kids,” Littell said. “Lauren Fields hadn’t been in the gym for very long, Kassidy De Lapp came back, Lexy Keys and Taylen Collins found out what it’s like to play in a tough environment. We did a lot of positive things today, we just have to grow and continue to get better.”

OSU had not surrendered so much as 80 points in any of its previous 11 games. They had also only scored in the 80’s one time this season, so both numbers on the final scoreboard bucked the trends that helped OSU get off to a 9-2 start.

“It was a big-time offensive game,” Littell said. “I don’t like getting in games like that where it’s 90 to 80. That isn’t the brand of our program, but hopefully, we’ll learn from it.”

xports.ed@ocollu.com