NCAAW: Ashley Joens an intriguing WNBA prospect for Iowa State Cyclones

Throughout the school basketball panorama, the success of most successful applications might be traced again to 1 or two gamers — gamers whose arrival ushered in new areas at their respective faculties and whose particular person greatness instantly elevated their applications as a complete.

For the Iowa State Cyclones, that participant is Ashley Joens.

Joens, a 6-foot-1 guard/ahead from Iowa Metropolis, has turn out to be one of many best gamers in Cyclones historical past, her determination to remain house and play for Iowa State head coach Invoice Fennelly kind of dragging this system out of mediocrity. The Cyclones have gone a mixed 65-29 (.691) since Joens’ freshman season in 2018-19; that they had gone 63-60 (.512) within the 4 seasons prior.

Fennelly is grateful, too. After an in depth loss to Texas A&M within the 2021 NCAA Event, he quipped that anybody who doesn’t assume Joens is among the greatest gamers within the nation “wants to have a look at different sports activities.”

Whether or not or not one agrees with Fennelly’s evaluation, the influence Joens has had on Iowa State via three seasons is simple. It’s now time to sit up for the 2022 WNBA Draft; simply how good of a participant is Joens, and which of her collegiate expertise ought to WNBA coaches be when evaluating her as a draft prospect?

Honors and statistics

Joens has been gathering accolades since her very first yr at Iowa State. 2018’s No. 26 general recruit (ESPN HoopGurlz) and Miss Basketball for the state of Iowa, Joens averaged 11.7 factors per recreation and knocked down 72 threes as a freshman, incomes Large 12 All-Freshman Crew honors within the course of.

Joens’ collegiate profession has ascended quickly since then. She scored 20.5 factors per recreation as a sophomore and a whopping 24.2 as a junior, averaging no fewer than 9.5 rebounds per recreation in every of these seasons. She was a prime 5 finalist for the Cheryl Miller Award (given to the nation’s greatest small ahead) in 2020 and won the award in 2021, whereas additionally garnering nationwide consideration on the Wade and Naismith Trophy watch lists.

As anticipated, Joens was once again named to the Cheryl Miller Award watch checklist previous to the 2020-21 season. She was additionally named to preseason watch lists for the Naismith and Wade Trophies, in addition to the Wood Award.

Internationally, Joens has been concerned with USA Basketball for a number of years, having been a part of groups that received Gold within the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 and U19 World Cup competitions. She additionally participated in trials for Crew USA within the 2021 AmeriCup competitors.

How she helps the Cyclones

Joens’ fundamental per-game stats, it’s straightforward to inform what her main function is at Iowa State: rating the basketball.

It’s one thing she does fairly properly. In response to Her Hoop Stats, in 2020-21, Joens was one of just eight players in all of Division I to common a minimum of 20 factors per recreation whereas taking pictures higher than 50 p.c on 2-pointers and higher than 35 p.c on 3-pointers, and her 24.2 factors per recreation ranked second (to Iowa’s Caitlin Clark) on that checklist. Merely put, she’s a risk to attain from just about anyplace on the court docket — although she vastly prefers 3-pointers and pictures within the paint to lengthy 2-point jumpers — and regardless of realizing full properly who Iowa State’s go-to participant is, opponents simply can’t cease her.

Joens is a wonderful 3-point shooter, however her bag of offensive tips goes a lot deeper than a long-range jumpshot.
Picture by Torrey Purvey/Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Photos

That Joens usually faces the brunt of opponents’ defenses and nonetheless scores on the quantity and effectivity that she does is one thing to admire. As a junior, Joens led the country in free throws made (181); whereas Fennelly has attributed this to opposing groups “beat[ing] the crap out of her,” it additionally speaks not solely to Joens’ toughness, however the versatility of her recreation.

As is typical of most nice scorers, Joens is able to torching defenses in a mess of how. About 14.4 p.c of Joens’ possessions final season got here on post-ups (Synergy Sports activities), and he or she scored 1.118 factors per possession on them, rating within the 93rd percentile. She additionally drew a taking pictures foul on 23.7 p.c of these post-ups, her 6-foot-1 body merely an excessive amount of for many of her particular person matchups to deal with.

In abstract, Joens’ offensive repertoire has few evident weaknesses, if any. She’s additionally a wonderful rebounder for her place, rating within the ninety fifth percentile in rebounding price as a sophomore and 92nd percentile as a junior. Joens’ prowess within the put up and on the glass offers the Cyclones the choice to area smaller lineups and additional area the ground. Whereas it stays to be seen simply how a lot of her foul-drawing will translate to the skilled stage, such potential lineup optionality will certainly issue right into a WNBA group’s determination to draft her.

Watch her play

Large 12 play remains to be a couple of weeks away, however Iowa State has a couple of intriguing matchups on its schedule within the meantime. The Cyclones will journey to Baton Rouge to tackle LSU on Thursday, Dec. 2 in a recreation that might be televised nationally on ESPN2. Quickly thereafter, No. 13 Iowa State and No. 8 Iowa will renew their rivalry on Wednesday, Dec. 8 on ESPNU. The mixed offensive expertise between the 2 groups will make it a must-watch recreation.

All statistics and group data for the 2021-22 season are present via Nov. 23, 2021.

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