Cyclone Women Face 10th-seeded Creighton In Sweet 16 Battle

Written By Brandon Hurley on March 23, 2022
Iowa State women Sweet 16

Two wins stand in the way of the Iowa State women’s first trip to the Final Four. Surprisingly, the 10th-seeded Creighton Bluejays are Friday’s Sweet 16 opponent, not the rival Iowa Hawkeyes as many had hoped.

The unexpected third-round matchup between a Cinderella and one of the nation’s best is set for 8:30 p.m. Friday night in Greensboro, NC. The game can be seen on ESPN2.

Iowa State is in search of its first Elite Eight appearance since 2009. Additionally, this is the Cyclones’ first Sweet 16 appearance in more than 10 years, last reaching the second weekend in 2010.

Iowa State’s dominant season continues

A record-setting campaign lives to see another round.

The third-seeded Cyclones (28-6) shook off a relative scare from 14th-seeded UT-Arlington in the opening round (78-71). Emily Ryan was instrumental in the win, scoring 11 of her 20 points in the fourth quarter. The Mavericks actually held a 12-point first-half lead before Iowa State surged back. The Cyclones took a lead, 66-64 midway through the fourth quarter and never looked back. Ashley Joens enjoyed a monster game, scoring a season-high 36 points to go with 17 rebounds.

The motivated Cyclones absolutely throttled sixth-seeded Georgia in the second round, prevailing 67-44. Lexi Donarski led the way with 20 points in the win over Georgia while Ryan nearly chipped in a double-double with 15 points and nine assists in addition to six rebounds and three steals. The Cyclones never trailed, opening the game on an 11-0 run.

Iowa State’s relatively easy victory over Georgia secured the all-time single-season school record for most wins at 28. The Cyclones are now 21-19 overall in the NCAA tournament. For Friday’s game:

  • The Cyclones are 5.5-point favorites over Creighton at PointsBet Sportsbook.
  • Moneylines are -250 for Iowa State and +175 for the Blue Jays.
  • As of Wednesday night, the over/under total at PointsBet in Iowa is 141.5.

How Creighton reached the Sweet 16

Creighton shocked second-seeded Iowa Sunday in Iowa City, using a late bucket from Lauren Jensen to pull off the upset, 64-62. Jensen, a former Hawkeye, drilled the game-winning three-pointer with 15 seconds remaining, completing the stunner. Iowa’s Monika Czinano missed a game-tying shot as time expired.

The Bluejays entered last Sunday’s second-round game as 11.5 point underdogs but managed to capture the outright win thanks to an aggressive defense. They held National Player of the Year candidate Caitlin Clark to her lowest scoring total of the year, with just 15 points. As a team, the Hawks shot just 35 percent from the field, including a 5-of-22 mark from three.

Creighton also upset seventh-seeded Colorado in the opening round, 84-74 on March 18. Jensen piloted a comeback with 16 points, three assists and three rebounds. Colorado built a nine-point lead in the first quarter. Creighton clawed back to tie the game at 31 at the break, eventually pulling away in the fourth quarter.

Bluejays making history

Creighton is back in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2018. Likewise, the Bluejays are making their first-ever Sweet 16 appearance, boasting an even 7-7 record overall in the Big Dance.

The Omaha-based school (22-9) finished 15-5 in the Big East. They are led by 6’1″ forward Emma Ronsiek at 14.7 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per contest.  Jensen, who stands at 5’10,” is second on the team at 12.6 points per game along with four rebounds per game.

As a team, the Bluejays average 74.8 points per game at a 45.6 percent clip. Creighton has made 316 total three-pointers at a rate of 36.7 percent. Defensively, the Bluejays are rather stout, holding opponents to 63.7 points per game and a 41.7 percent success rate from the floor.

Creighton and Iowa State last met in 2008, with the Cyclones prevailing, 63-59.

What’s at stake in the Sweet 16

Friday’s winner will face either No. 1 overall seed South Carolina (31-2) or fifth-seeded North Carolina (25-6) in Sunday’s Elite Eight. South Carolina throttled Howard, 79-21 in the opening round then held off No. 8 Miami, 49-33 in the second round. North Carolina won both of their games by double digits as well. The Tarheels defeated 12th-seeded Stephen F. Austin, 79-66 in the opening round before evading No. 4 Arizona, 63-45 in the second round.

The 2022 women’s Final Four is set for April 1-3 at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Creighton has the longest odds to cut down the nets, according to DraftKings Sportsbook IA.

  • South Carolina +115
  • UConn +300
  • Stanford +450
  • North Carolina State +600
  • Louisville +1000
  • Texas +2000
  • North Carolina and Iowa State +5000
  • Maryland and Michigan +6000
  • Tennessee +8000
  • Indiana +10000
  • Notre Dame and South Dakota +20000
  • Ohio State +30000
  • Creighton +40000
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Photo by Charlie Neibergall / AP Photo
Brandon Hurley Avatar
Written by
Brandon Hurley

Brandon Hurley is an award-winning editor of the Jefferson Herald in west-central Iowa. He's covered national sporting events such as NBA All-Star Weekend, the Big Ten football championship and the NBA Finals. He previously worked as sports editor at Jefferson Herald and the Boone News-Republican and wrote for the Dickinson County News in Spirit Lake, IA. Hurley possesses a double major in journalism and sports studies from the University of Iowa.

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