Iowa State star Ashley Joens isn’t done rewriting Iowa State history.
The Cyclones senior star, already one of the most accomplished players in school history, announced on Twitter on Monday that she will pass on the WNBA Draft and return to Iowa State for one more season. Joens will take advantage of the extra season of eligibility awarded to athletes following the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s huge news for the Cyclones who just completed one of the best seasons in school history and were expected to enter next season with gigantic expectations. Iowa State already returns point guard Emily Ryan and guard Lexi Donarski, the Big 12 Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year. And now they’ll have Joens, who has already solidified herself as one of the greatest players in Iowa State history.
The Iowa City native, who has been a four-year starter for the Cyclones, averaged 18.8 and 8.6 rebounds in 126 games over the past four seasons. The 6-foot-1 guard/forward also rewrote the Iowa State record books and garnered award after award along the way during what has already turned into one of the greatest careers in program history.
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Joens, a unanimous All-Big 12 First Team selection three times and a second-team All-American this season, was named the Cheryl Miller Award winner during the 2020-21 season. The award is given to the nation’s best small forward. Joens also broke one of Iowa State’s most prestigious records this season by passing Angie Welle as the school’s all-time scoring leader.
But some of Joens’ best work came during her senior season when she helped lead the Cyclones to a historic season. Joens averaged 20.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game as the Cyclones set single-season school records with 28 wins and 14 victories in the Big 12 to finish second in league play. Iowa State also advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2010.
Iowa State’s season came to an unexpected end Friday when 10-seed Creighton upset the three-seed Cyclones in the Sweet 16 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Joens, who missed most of the second quarter while in foul trouble, finished with 14 points and four rebounds in the loss. She said after the game that she hadn’t thought about what she would do for next season and a decision would come soon.
The Cyclones have become a big part of Joens’ life. Her younger sister, Aubrey, just completed her sophomore season playing for the Cyclones. Another younger sister, Kelsey, just completed her junior season at Iowa City High School and plans to play at Iowa State.
Tommy Birch, the Register’s sports enterprise and features reporter, has been working at the newspaper since 2008. He’s the 2018 and 2020 Iowa Sportswriter of the Year. Reach him at email@example.com or 515-284-8468. Follow him on Twitter @TommyBirch.