Ashley Joens has already entered the history books as one of the best-ever Iowa State Cyclones players. Now, her recent decision to stay here another season gives her a chance to make her scoring record even tougher for anyone else to beat in the future.
Who is this basketball player who also teaches in Iowa and could soon be featured in the WNBA?
Her Story So Far
Ashley was born in Cedar Rapids and attended Iowa City High School, where she performed strongly in basketball as well as track and field athletics. Her high school basketball career saw her play as a starter in every one of the team’s games over her four years there, with an average of 30.7 points and 11.4 rebounds earning her the title of Miss Iowa Basketball.
This meant she was a five-star recruit when she left high school and became the highest-ranked recruit in the history of Iowa State when she joined the program there. Ashley started all of the Cyclones’ games in her freshman year, getting an average number of points in double figures and entering the Big 12’s All-Freshman team.
Playing as a small forward or shooting guard, Ashley grew in stature in the following seasons, leading the conference in points and breaking Iowa State scoring records, beating Angie Welle’s record to become the program’s top all-time scorer. This was followed by the Cheryl Miller Award, which she was awarded twice as the best small forward in the college game. Ashley has also been named as an all-American on three occasions.
Next will be better🏀🕸 pic.twitter.com/g6EWP6fyX6
— Ashley Joens (@ashleyjoens) August 16, 2022
The Big Decision in 2022
The Cyclones enjoyed a strong 2022 season but when they lost to the Creighton Bluejays at the Sweet 16 stage of the NCAA Tournament, it was expected that Ashley would leave for the WNBA draft. She was expected to be a first-round pick and it was reported that several pro teams were looking at her. However, after a lot of soul-searching, Ashley decided to stay at Iowa State for the super senior season that was allowed because of the disruption that Covid-19 caused to the 2020-21 season.
This was good news for the Cyclones and their fans, and the fact that Lexi Donarski and Emily Ryan also announced their return to the program made it even more welcoming. Since she had a relatively disappointing display in that Sweet 16 loss to Creighton, it’s another chance for Ashley to leave Iowa State on a high before turning pro.
The team is now one of the favorites to win the Big 12 championship this season. This marks an upswing for the program, with last season being their first time at the Sweet 16 round for more than a decade. Joens’ versatility and shooting prowess are undoubtedly one of the major reasons why their fans are feeling so confident about this new season.
There are likely to be other members of the Joens family making headlines for Iowa State in the next few years. Her younger sisters, Aubrey and Kelsey, are both basketball players, with Aubrey already in her sophomore season with the Cyclones and Kelsey planning to go there too. Ashley has already said that playing college basketball with her sisters was one of her big motivations earlier in life.
Loved seeing all these hard workers in the gym this morning helping make the first ever Ashley Joens Basketball Camp a success! Thank you to all involved! pic.twitter.com/D6TxrStatc
— Ashley Joens (@ashleyjoens) July 28, 2022
Her Future in Teaching
Away from the basketball court, Ashley has also been working hard to plan ahead for her future. According to the DesMoinesRegister, she’s been working as a student teacher at Irving Elementary School in Indianola during the summer, helping teacher Morgan Reetz to run a class of 22 students.
While she has one last season in college basketball followed by a professional career ahead of her, Ashley is already planning to teach when she stops playing the game. She says that in third grade she was already clear on the fact that playing in the WNBA and studying to be a teacher were her biggest goals in life.
Even while she was a student at Iowa City High, she worked as a volunteer at an elementary school, taking some classes, as well as helping out with small groups of children, and grading papers. She majored in elementary education and also worked with kids in basketball camps, carrying out a teaching practicum at Meeker Elementary School in Ames and finally achieving her substitute teacher license.
This extra year at Iowa State will let her finish her teaching degree as well as try to guide the Cyclones to glory. After that, her next step is to start studying for a master’s degree in high school education and administration. She hopes that this will give her the chance to go on and become a principal or athletics director at a school in the future.
However, for the moment Ashley Joens has some unfinished business with the Iowa State Cyclones that could see her head to the WNBA on a high next year.
Credits on Featured Image: Ashley Joens Twitter Page