Second-half surge powers Cyclones’ women’s basketball


Photo: Tim Reuter/Iowa State Daily

Guard and forward Jessica Schroll rushes past a Michigan opponent during Sunday’s game at Hilton Coliseum. Schroll had seven rebounds and five points to help the Cyclones defeat Michigan 60-47.

David Merrill

Iowa State has shown it is a strong second-half team all season. Strong second halves have propelled the team to victories against TCU and Drake this season. 

It can now add Michigan to this list. 

The Cyclones held just a two-point lead over the Wolverines at halftime before outscoring them 34-23 in the second half, when Iowa State salted away a 60-47 victory.

“We go into the locker room and coach [Bill Fennelly] will give us his spiel about what we did right and what we did wrong,” said ISU sophomore Jessica Schroll. “Kelsey [Bolte] gave us a little speech today, so we were ready to go. It was like a brand new start.”

A disparity in shooting percentage was the difference for the Cyclones. They made just 27 percent of their shots in the first half compared to 39 percent in the second. Bolte led the resurgence for the Cyclones. She shot 5-of-11 from 3-point range to finish with 20 points and five rebounds.

Bolte made three of her five 3-point attempts in the second half. 

“My shooting percentage wasn’t great, but I just kept shooting,” Bolte said. “I started to use my legs a little bit more and slowed my shot down and started focusing on my form a little more.”

Bolte’s 3-pointers came at very big moments in the game for the Cyclones. Once Iowa State took a lead, Michigan would keep chipping away and bringing the game closer. The Ida Grove native stepped up and delivered.

“Kelsey makes two in a row — that’s six points,” Fennelly said. “In a game like this, that’s a lot more than six.”

Bolte made two straight threes in a 30-second span to push the ISU lead out to six points.

One of the main adjustments the Cyclones made in the second half was staying in position on the ball screens Michigan threw at them. Fennelly had his team start out the second half by switching on the screens, but found that led to points for the Wolverines.

Iowa State also went to a smaller lineup in the second half, playing four guards on the floor. It inserted backup point guard Chassidy Cole into the mix. 

“We spread them out a little more defensively and let Jess try to create something, or Chass,”Fennelly said. “They did a good job with that.” 

The Cyclones once again held their opponent to below 40 percent from the field for the game, adding to the consistency on defense the Cyclones have showed all season. They have shown that they are going to have to win games on the defensive end of the floor.

“There are some teams that can go out and just outscore you,” Fennelly said. “We’re not one of those teams.”

Fennelly gave credit to his team being able to make adjustments at halftime and said it had to with players getting better and becoming more comfortable with the offense. 

“Our team is very good at understanding what we did wrong and what we need to fix,” Fennelly said. “Kelsey Bolte is smart, [guard] Lauren [Mansfield] gets better every time she plays. Our kids believe in the game plan and that’s to their credit.”