Cyclones defeat Sooners 77-71

Cory Weaver

Coach Bill Fennelly said after the Kansas win Wednesday that big games are when seniors step up. Lauren Mansfield stepped up big for the Cyclones Saturday night against Oklahoma and helped close out the 77-71 victory.

The senior hit six of Iowa State’s season-high 11 3s en route to 22 points on the game, 11 of which coming in the second half where the Cyclone lead dwindled to as low as a point.

The Lowdown

It was the “Play 4 Kay” pink game at Hilton Coliseum Saturday night, and the Cyclones (16-9, 7-7 Big 12) were not only pink but red hot from the 3-point line in the first half.

Averaging 7.1 3s per game prior to the contest, the Cyclones connected on 8 of 15 in the first half alone. The team went on to record 11, a season-high.

In the second half, Iowa State saw its former 17-point lead slowly decrease, leaving room for a neck-and-neck finish.

The Sooners (17-9, 9-5) finished with five players in double figures, led by Aaryn Ellenberg’s 19 points, and traded baskets with the Cyclones over the final two minutes.

Mansfield and Chelsea Poppens combined for six points over the final 50 seconds for Iowa State to help the team hold on to a victory that nearly slipped out of their grips.

The Turning Point

There was 1:41 left on the clock. Nikki Moody had just hit a pair of free throws to lengthen a one-point lead to three and Ellenberg tried to answer on the other end but missed a contested layup.

The Cyclones came down the court and Lauren Mansfield pulled the trigger on a 3 that bounced straight up and back down through the net to push the lead to six.

Hilton erupted and the shot gave Iowa State the necessary momentum to trade baskets over the final 90 seconds and make nine of their final 10 free throws for the win.

The X Factor

Lauren Mansfied. The senior guard came up with big 3s and shots down the stretch for the Cyclones at times where they looked for senior leadership. She scored a season-high 22 points, tied a career-high with six 3-pointers and has made her last 16 free throws dating back to Jan. 11.

On several occasions throughout the first and second half, Mansfield answered 3s from Oklahoma with baskets of her own to help her team improve to .500 in the conference after starting 0-5.

By the Numbers

83.3 – Free throw percentage for Iowa State (20-24), with 15 coming in the second half

11 – Assists given out by Nikki Moody, a career-high. She has 111 this season, the most by any ISU freshman ever.

260 – Career rebounds for Chelsea Poppens, ninth all time in ISU history. She had five Saturday night.

542 – Consecutive games with a 3-pointer for Iowa State, an NCAA record. Sunday marks the 17th anniversary from the first game in the streak.

24 – Bench points for Iowa State. Anna Prins led the bench scoring with 15, while Moody contributed nine as well.

Postgame Chatter

“The problem is not the 3, it’s the penetration that leads to the 3” -Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale on Iowa State’s effectiveness in getting 3-point looks.

“I really liked that 3; that was really nice. I thought it was going over the rim so when it popped in, it was good.” -Mansfield on her 3 to put the team up by six late in the game.

“We needed her to play well to be able to win so she did really well driving to the basket and finding open players and she had a lot of assists and I’m really proud of the way she stepped up.” -Mansfield on Moody.

“I think it shows a lot of courage and teamwork.” -Prins on the improvement between now and their five-game losing streak to start conference play.

“It’s a hard lesson to learn, most of us don’t like it, most of us don’t understand it, but that’s how we do things here.” -Fennelly on Moody not starting the game.

“If you can do that, in this kind of environment, you’re going to get a job.” -Fennelly on the team’s ability to make free throws down the stretch.