Mansfield puts up career numbers, Cyclones advance


Photographer: Zunkai Zhao/Iowa State Daily

Mansfield shot 3-of-6 from the free throw line in the final 1:33 to seal the victory.

David Merrill

Lauren Mansfield stole the spotlight in her first ever Big 12 tournament game. She put up a career-high 23 points and had five assists and five rebounds. 

Her performance Tuesday helped the Cyclones shake off the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 69-61, and advance to the second round of the Big 12 Tournament.

“She did great,” said sophomore ISU forward Chelsea Poppens. “Making all the those threes during the entire game helped spark us and in the end, making those free throws was big time.”

Mansfield shot 3-of-6 from the free throw line in the final 1:33 to seal the victory. 

She shot 7-of-18 from the field and 5-of-13 from behind the 3-point line. Her 18 shot attempts are the highest of the season thus far. She shot only three times in the season finale against Missouri, but getting her more shots wasn’t necessarily the priority against Nebraska.

“It just kind of happened,” Mansfield said. “I felt like they left me open on the zone and I’m sure they were chasing [Kelsey] Bolte, so I started to hit a few. It took me some [time] to do so, but my teammates told me to keep shooting.”

However, Mansfield wasn’t alone in helping out senior shooting guard Kelsey Bolte. Bolte scored 15 points but went scoreless in the final 16 minutes of the game.

Poppens added 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while sophomore forward Jessica Schroll had eight points and four boards. Sophomore center Anna Prins also had eight rebounds.

“They play a lot of zone and we try to run,” said coach Bill Fennelly. “We ran the same play a lot, because they were just running at [Bolte]. That opened up looks for Pop.”

“Anna got great looks — they didn’t go in — but great looks at the basket. Certainly Lauren’s threes were big.”

Bolte, who was voted to the first team All Big 12 team earlier in the week, has attracted a lot of attention from opposing defenses during the course of the season.

What defenses, such as Nebraska’s, have tried to do is deny her the ball by running at her before she gets it.

Her supporting cast has stepped up as of late.

“That’s what Kelsey Bolte does to you,” Fennelly said. “She hurts you by just being on the court. Everyone is so conscious of guarding her that other people get open. Today, those other people made the shots.”