(Courtesy Iowa State Athletics)
Iowa State women’s basketball’s Ashley Joens rounds out a historic junior campaign with one of the highest distinctions Women’s College Basketball has to offer. The Iowa City, Iowa native was named the 2021 Cheryl Miller Award winner, which honors the best small forward in NCAA Division I. Joens’ distinction also makes her a member of this season’s prestigious Naismith Starting Five.
“It is such an honor to be the recipient of this award,” Joens said. “Cheryl Miller had an amazing career that helped pave the way for women’s basketball, not only on the court, but off the court as well. To win this award and be considered the best small forward in the country this season is a great honor, especially with all the other great players that were considered for this award. This wouldn’t have been possible without my teammates and coaches. They have pushed me each and every day to continue to get better.”
She is also the second Iowa State student-athlete to earn the Cheryl Miller Award, joining Cyclone great Bridget Carleton who earned the honor in 2019. Iowa State women’s basketball program is now home to two of the last three winners of the Cheryl Miller Award.
“What a great honor for Ashley to have her name associated with one of the greatest to play the game in Cheryl Miller,” Head Coach Bill Fennelly said. “This award recognizes the amazing season Ashley had and the impact she made on our team. For the second time, an Iowa State player has won this award which is a great tribute to all involved in our program. Ashley’s effort and work to develop her game has made her one of the best players in the nation.”
Joens’ latest honor come after one of the best seasons in Iowa State women’s basketball history. Joens set a new school record of 24.2 points per game, topping Carleton’s previous mark of 21.7 points per game in 2018-19. Joens also finished the season second in points scored (678), tied for seventh in rebounding average (9.5), fourth in free-throw percentage (.883), third in free-throws made (181), sixth in free throws attempted (205), fourth in field goals made (223), third in field goals attempted (482).
Joens’ 24.2 points per game, led the Big 12 conference and ranked fifth nationally. Her 46.3 percent from the field was also a career best. Joens also finishes the season as the NCAA leader in free throws made with 181.