PREVIEW: Women’s basketball looking to cool down high-powered Iowa State

Oklahoma State competes against Kansas State at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan on January 25, 2021. (Photo Courtesy of Scott Weaver | K-State Athletics)

The women’s basketball team (5-7) concludes a two-game home-stand with a chance to play spoiler against one of the most potent offenses in the Big 12 Conference — the Iowa State Cyclones (10-5).

To do so, Kansas State needs to overcome late-game situations to remain competitive in the matchup.

Finishing is the Achilles’ heel for the Wildcats since returning to play just one week ago following a 30-day shutdown because of COVID-19 complications. The Wildcats shot 16 percent from the floor in the fourth quarter in a 69-55 loss to Oklahoma State on Monday night.

Junior Christianna Carr and sophomore Ayoka Lee remain the top scorers for K-State. Carr is fourth in the conference in three-point percentage at 44.8 percent, while Lee is 19th in the conference in points, averaging 13.4 points per game.

Lee is also the second-leading scorer for the Wildcats.

The match-up features the conference leaders in three-point field goal percentage, with Iowa State holding a slight decimal lead at 39.6 percent. Cyclone guard Lexi Donarski leads the league with a 54 percent three-point percentage through eight games.

Texas upset Iowa State at home, 70-59, on Saturday, which competed a Longhorn regular-season sweep. The Cyclones boast the third-highest scoring offense in the Big 12, averaging 76.6 points per game. However, they played 15 games this season.

Slow starts plague the Cyclones as of late. Iowa State scored under 15 points in the first quarter for the last two games.

Junior Ashley Joens leads the Big 12 in scoring, averaging 24.3 points per night. The Iowa City, Iowa, product scored 30-plus points in three games this season. She scored 25 points in a 91-69 rout of K-State in Ames, Iowa, earlier this season.

This match-up is a crucial game for the Cyclones, who sit in second place in the conference standings, only behind Baylor.

The Wildcats still need the first conference win of the season. The Cyclones played close games between lower opponents, including an upset by South Dakota State, Iowa and Texas. K-State defeated South Dakota State during non-conference play.

Tip-off for Thursday’s game in Manhattan is set for 6:30 p.m. with broadcast coverage on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. Radio coverage will be on the K-State Sports Network.