Wildcats down Cyclones in Kansas City, again

Cory Weaver

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the second year in a row, Iowa State was eliminated by Kansas State in the Big 12 Tournament.

It was a back-and-forth battle between the Cyclones (18-12, 9-10 Big 12) and Wildcats (19-12, 10-9) and the nail-biter concluded in Kansas State’s favor 67-63 at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.

The Cyclones started the game with a 12-2 run, but the Wildcats answered back with a 13-2 drive of their own, a familiar theme of the game. Freshman Nikki Moody said the Wildcats never backed down.

“Whenever we got going, the crowd got into it,” Moody said. “We started getting energy and getting more like pumped up to win, and they just kept fighting back.”

KSU forward Jalana Childs was her team’s go-to for rebuttals since the Cyclone defense had no answer for her post presence.

“I really wanted to prove myself,” Childs said, “prove myself to my team and to K-State.”

Childs went on to score 31 points and claimed 10 rebounds off the glass as well. Her 56 percent shooting made it difficult for Iowa State to break away as the game progressed and ISU coach Bill Fennelly said that is what hurt the most.

“We got our butts kicked in the post,” Fennelly said. “We can analyze it all we want, but at the end of the day, their inside game just had their way with us.”

When one player scores 31 and two other teammates score in double figures as well, the score could easily have been a blowout.

Senior guard Lauren Mansfield, along with Moody, recorded 21 points for the Cyclones, and Mansfield said she felt the need to step up with her time running out.

“I mean, I know any game could be my last, so I’m just trying to take that and play with it,” Mansfield said. “And definitely when shots are falling, I was feeling good as well.”

The duo turned the ball over only four times as well, and Fennelly said he could not have asked for more from them.

“I thought our guard play was maybe the best it’s been collectively all year,” Fennelly said.

With less than eight minutes to play, Iowa State went on an 8-0 run highlighted by and-1s from Moody and Hallie Christofferson to take the lead 54-50. After K-State regained the lead a few minutes later, Moody tracked down a loose ball and finished on the other end to tie the game again 59-59.

During the final six and a half minutes, the Cyclones still could not find an answer for Childs, who, along with guard Brittany Chambers, scored the team’s final 15 points. KSU coach Deb Patterson said this was tremendous.

“I’m really pleased with both of them because those are our two first-team All-Big 12 players,” Patterson said. “And they came and led the team to victory.”

Down by three with 22 seconds left, Christofferson hit a baseline jumper to close it to one but that was all the closer the team got. Kansas State made its last three-of-four shots from the line, and Mansfield credited its ability to score down the stretch.

“They made big plays and made big shots and rebounds, and they fought for it,” Mansfield said.

Fennelly and his squad will now await the NCAA’s decision on Monday night whether his team will advance to the NCAA tournament. Regardless of whether it does or not, Ames hosts the first two rounds of play, beginning March 17.