AUSTIN, Texas – Rori Harmon supplied Texas with the scoring punch and Audrey Warren delivered the smothering defense.
And with that freshman-senior combo leading the way, No. 14 Texas ran past No. 6 Iowa State 73-48 Wednesday night and tightened things up atop the Big 12.
Harmon scored 20 points to go with nine assists behind an array of impressive shot making and smart passing, and Warren locked down Iowa State standout forward Ashley Joens over the first three quarters in a rout that snapped Iowa State’s five-game win streak. The loss knocked the Cyclones out of sole possession of first place in the league standings.
Harmon did it all for Texas, whether driving to the basket, pulling up for short jumpers or stepping out for crushing 3-pointers in one of Texas’ most fluid offensive games this season. She also have five steals to cap an impressive all-around effort.
“When she plays well, our team plays well,” Texas coach Vic Schaefer said. “If she has a bad night … our team is probably not going to win.”
Warren was right there with her, coming off the bench to scoring 16 while putting the clamps on Joens, especially in the third quarter as Texas outscored the Cyclones 22-9 and pulled away.
Texas (18-6, 8-5) has rebounded from a three-game losing streak with three consecutive wins. Texas swept the regular season matchup with the Cyclones (21-4, 10-3), holding Iowa State under 50 points both times.
“It just feels like things are coming together,” Harmon said.
Texas led 31-26 at halftime and blew the game open in the third. Warren, who typically draws the opponent’s top scorer, denied Joens open looks and driving lanes, and Texas held the Cyclones without a basket for more than five minutes in one stretch.
Texas built a 10-point lead when four Longhorns scored on consecutive possessions and Joanne Allen-Taylor swished a 3-pointer from the left corner.
After an Iowa State timeout and turnover, Harmon swished another 3-pointer. Warren’s two free throws after Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly was called for a technical foul made it 49-30.
“Harmon’s really good. She’s exactly the kind of point guard who can start your offense and start your defense,” Fennelly said.
Joens still scored 18 while battling constant double teams in the post and become the Cyclones’ career scoring leader. But she struggled most of the game to find her shot and committed six turnovers. She now has 2,156, passing Angie Welle, who scored 2,149 from 1999-2002.
“It’s become the norm in our league, you beat Ashley Jones up. You beat her up and double team her. She’s kind of gotten use to it,” Fennelly said.
Texas missed its first eight shots, then went on a 15-2 scoring run to close the first quarter …. Iowa State tied a school record with 19 3-pointers in its previous game against TCU, but was just 4-of-12 against Texas and made just one in the second half.
Iowa State: The Cyclones came into the game with their best ranking in 20 years but lost their one-game lead atop the Big 12 standings. The Cyclones are now tied with No. 7 Baylor and one game ahead of No. 15 Oklahoma heading into the home stretch of the season. Iowa State hosts the Sooners on Saturday and play the Bears, the 11-time defending champions, at home on Feb. 28. The Cyclones haven’t won the Big 12 since 2000.
“Its been Baylor and the rest of us,” for a long time, Fennelly said. “But this year has been fun for the players and the coaches … That’s what February is supposed to be about. Two weeks left in the regular season, its fun to be playing important games.”
Texas: The Longhorns honored Retha Swindell, the first Black woman to play a varsity sport at Texas, and former coach Rodney Page, who was the school’s first Black head coach in any sport when lead women’s program launched in 1974. A 6-foot-2 forward, Swindell is still the program’s career rebounds leader with 1,759 from 1975-1979.
Joens came into the game needing 12 points to pass Welle in the record book and did it with a layup and free throw with 4:59 to play.
Iowa State host No. 15 Oklahoma on Saturday.
Texas plays at West Virginia on Sunday.