Cyclones use larger lineup in win over Chicago State

Dan Tracy

Iowa State continued its six-game home stand Sunday with a 62-48 victory over visiting Chicago State. The Cyclones (11-2) are 8-0 at home this season and haven’t trailed in any of their last four games.

Iowa State started the game with a three-pointer from junior guard Lauren Mansfield and a lay-up from sophomore forward Chelsea Poppens, but then got cold for the next five minutes as they missed their next six shot attempts. The Cyclones relied on their defense in the opening half as they held the Cougars (6-8) to 9 of 31 shooting in taking a 31-24 lead at halftime. Poppens scored nine of her team’s first 20 points as she led Iowa State with 11 points and four rebounds in the first half.

After a back and forth second half in their eight-point win over Prairie View A&M on Thursday, the Cyclones were hoping to not let down in the second half as they attempted to secure their 57th consecutive non-conference home victory.

“We kind of changed what we did but then again we had the same mindset that we always want to do better and keep getting better as a team,” Bolte said.

The Cyclones didn’t make a basket until a Poppens layup with 15:38 left in the half, but were able to shut down the Cougars’ offense once again as they went on a 16-2 run to take a 47-31 lead.

Poppens finished the night with eight rebounds, five offensive, as the Cyclones out-rebounded the Cougars 40-33. In her last three games, Poppens is 16 of 24 from the field and has made 11 of 16 free throws.

“I think I have a lot more confidence now that I’ve been making my free throws and the easy layups,” Poppens said.

Along with Poppens’ confidence comes confidence from the coaching staff in the ability of the ISU forwards to play together. Over the last two practices, the Cyclones have experimented with three post players in the lineup and they showcased that look Sunday night.

“I really felt we needed to throw three of them out there because the struggle with our team obviously is ‘can we score?’ and if we’re not getting any points out of Chass [Chassidy Cole], Jess [Jessica Schroll] or Kelsey Harris we have to find them somewhere,” Fennelly said.

Poppens and Christofferson both ended with 17 points and sophomore center Anna Prins added seven as the trio accounted for 41 of Iowa State’s 62 points. Christofferson also knocked down a career-high three three-pointers in the win.

Bolte ended the night with 12 points, moving her into 12th place all-time in scoring at Iowa State with 1,286 career points. However, she has only made 7 of her last 23 shots since netting a career-high 28 points against Florida A&M on Wednesday. Fennelly took full blame as he explained how much pressure that the team’s lone senior has been under this season.

“She’s trying to provide energy to 10 people instead of herself, she’s a senior, she only has nine games left in this building I just told her ‘I’ll take care of the team for a while, you gotta worry about yourself,'” Fennelly said.

“Obviously I’m not going to get seven threes every game, so I just have to keep working on my shooting ability and keep shooting it,” Bolte said. “I’m not really worried, I have Poppens on the inside to get my rebounds.”

Coming off of a 94-point effort in a win Thursday over Miami (Ohio) the Cougars, who average 69.8 points per game, were held to 31.7 percent shooting from the field as they were held to a season-low 48 points. Courtney Waldon paced the Cougars (6-8) with 16 points.

Iowa State will take to the court for their final non-conference game of the season at 7 p.m. Tuesday when they host North Dakota State (6-6).