Bridget Carleton scored the Cyclones’ first five points of the game and finished with 23 to lead third-seeded Iowa State to a 97-61 win over 14th-seeded New Mexico on Saturday in a first-round NCAA Tournament game at Ames, Iowa.
The Cyclones (25-8) advance to play Missouri State in the second round on Monday. The 11th-seeded Bears defeated No. 6 DePaul 89-78 earlier in the day. The Aggies’ season ended at 26-6.
Carleton had plenty of help as the Cyclones dominated all aspects of the game. Alexa Middleton finished with 15 points, five rebounds and nine assists. Ashley Joens went for 14 points and eight boards, and Kristin Scott added 12 points and eight rebounds.
Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year Brooke Salas led the Aggies with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while dishing five assists and adding two steals.
Gia Pack had 16 points and nine rebounds, plus four assists and two steals.
Salas recorded seven points, eight rebounds and three assists in the first half, but that was not nearly enough to offset the Aggies shooting 23.3 percent from the field.
The game was tied three times early, but the Cyclones never trailed in defeating the WAC champions. The win was the first tournament victory for the Cyclones since 2013. The loss snapped a 17-game New Mexico State winning streak.
The Cyclones jumped out to a 23-16 lead after the first quarter and broke open the game in the second, outscoring the Aggies, 27-10.
Carleton ignited a 13-2 run to start the second with a long-range jumper, and after Ines Nezerwa’s layup, Iowa State led 36-18 with 7:09 before the break.
The lead grew to 22 when Alexa Middleton sank a pair of free throws to make it 46-24 with 2:08 left in the half. Middleton’s layup with 35 seconds left gave Iowa State a 50-26 lead at halftime, and the Cyclones didn’t let up, leading 80-44 heading into the fourth.
The Cyclones came in with the 15th-ranked offense at 78.9 points per game and averaged nearly nine 3s a game.
Against the Aggies, the Cyclones made 9 of 23 from 3-point range and 20 of 23 from the free-throw line. They also held a sizable advantage on the boards, outrebounding the smaller Aggies, 59-31.
—Field Level Media