Cyclones survive another slow start


Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly, reacts to a referee’s call during the first half of Tuesday’s game against Nebraska at Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State beat Nebraska 64-43.

Dan Tracy

ISU coach Bill Fennelly knew what the first question from the media would be after the game. So, he answered it before it was asked.

“I have no idea what’s going on in the beginning of games,” Fennelly said.

The 16-0 deficit Iowa State faced against No. 1 Baylor on Saturday was one that it hoped to forget. The Cyclones (13-3, 1-1 in Big 12) missed their first eight shots and were never able to recover in the 12-point loss in the Big 12 opener.

So when Fennelly gazed at the scoreboard in the first half of their game against Nebraska and saw 7-0, he wasn’t too pleased.

The early shooting woes for Iowa State continued again Tuesday night as the Cyclones missed their first five shots. Meanwhile, Nebraska (10-6, 0-2 in Big 12) knocked down four of its first eight shots before the Cyclones got on the board with a jumper from Anna Prins at 14:42 in the first half.

“We finally got it figured out right when I took [Kelsey] Bolte out of the game. I told her, ‘We’ve got to come up with something,'” Fennelly said.

Early woes set the Cyclones back as they didn’t lead the entire first half, trailing 26-21 at the break.

“I think we’ve all agreed that we need to do some things different in our pregame,” said junior guard Lauren Mansfield.

Iowa State didn’t take their first lead until 17:38 remaining in the second half at 28-26. However, tough defense and 18 second-half points by senior guard Kelsey Bolte helped key a Cyclone second half run.

“The last two games we’ve trailed, we’ve dug ourselves kind of into a hole, and in the second half we just kind of picked up our defense,” Bolte said. “We picked it up on the defensive end and were able to get some things going on the offensive end.”

The second half would be a different story for the Cyclones as they knocked down 8 of their first 10 shots in the second half in taking a 42-32 lead with 12:57 left in the game.

“You can’t have eight minute stretches in this league and survive it over time, and ironically it’s been the beginning of both games, but to our credit, I thought we played a great second half,” Fennelly said.

The Cyclones shot 58.6 percent in the second half, including five 3-pointers after making only one in the opening half.

“We played outstanding in the first 17 minutes of the second half, and we just need to make sure that that’s how we start the first half next time, hopefully we can do that,” Bolte said.