Cyclones now on bubble after loss to Kansas State


Photo: Nicole Wiegand/Iowa State Daily

Senior guard Lauren Mansfield dribbles around a Kansas State defender during the ISU women’s basketball team’s game against the Wildcats on Wednesday, Feb. 29, at Hilton Coliseum. Mansfield added 13 points to the Cyclones’ 57-33 victory on senior night.

By Dean Berhow-Goll

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The shot soared through the air from the corner. It banked off the corner of the backboard, rolled around the rim and lipped out. 

It was Lauren Mansfield’s 19th shot of the game and would have been her 24th point. It might have been the last of the senior’s ISU career with the team being on the bubble for the NCAA tournament.

Kansas State’s Jalana Childs grabbed her 10th rebound of the game, then sank her 31st point of the game and along with it, the game itself. The Wildcats pulled out a 67-63 win against the Cyclones in the first round of the Big 12 tournament.

“As far as the game goes, it’s pretty simple,” said ISU coach Bill Fennelly. “We got our butts kicked in the post, and that’s the game.” 

That shot from the corner Mansfield missed was almost a shot that was expected to go in with the way that the senior was playing. She was two short of her career-high with 21 points.

Mansfield said she felt like as a senior she needed to step up.

“I think I definitely feel like time is running out on me,” Mansfield said. “I know any game could be my last, so I’m just dying to take that and play with it.”

Freshman guard Nikki Moody had another good game against Kansas State with 21 points, shooting 50 percent from the floor. In her combined three games against the Wildcats, she’s averaged 17 points per game and 53 percent shooting.

In the game at Kansas State on Jan. 25, Chelsea Poppens had 23 points and nine rebounds from only 14 shots from the field. 

At Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo., the recent unanimous All-Big 12 first-team selection struggled in the game. Poppens was only able to play 23 minutes due to foul trouble in the first half and went 3-9 from the field with just five rebounds. 

“When she got into foul trouble, the game changed,” Fennelly said. “Our first-team all-conference player sits a lot on the bench. And their first team all conference player changed the game.” 

On the other side of the court, Kansas State’s All-Big 12 first-teamer in  Childs had a record-setting day. She had 31 points on 13-23 shooting with 10 rebounds.

The 31 points is a new record for Kansas State in a Big 12 game.

“Last time we played them, we weren’t there as a team at all, and I really wasn’t there,” Childs said. “I had to get a feel for the game in the first half, and I think I did. It just kept rolling.”

It did keep rolling: After the first half, Childs had 15 points from 10 shots.

Then, to start the second half, Childs sunk her first three attempts and also made two free throws. Her first missed shot of the half came seven minutes into the game. 

“You know, we just played off of each other tonight,” Childs said. “Usually we have lapses and something goes wrong for us and we’re down, but we stayed together, and I really felt food with my teammates on the court today.”

Now with the loss, Iowa State is presumably on the bubble and will have to wait until Monday night when the field of the NCAA tournament is decided. 

“I just… I don’t feel comfortable,” Fennelly said. “If we’ve done the things that I think we’ve done with our schedule in our league, then they’ll put us in. If not, they won’t.

“We’ll live with that judgment, and I will be — I will tell you, I’ll be by myself a lot until Monday night because no one will want to be around me. Wait until 6 o’clock on Monday night. I hope it happens.”