Women grab win in last home game

Matt Gubbels

After a first half in which both teams shot 30 percent from the field, Iowa State was hanging onto a slim two-point lead and looking for an offensive spark.

That spark was once again provided by junior forward Jocelyn Anderson as the ISU women’s basketball team (18-10, 7-8 Big 12) went on a 15-3 run in the first nine minutes of the half and rode to a 51-42 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday.

Coach Bill Fennelly said the adjustment made at halftime was to get Anderson the ball in better places to score.

“We tried to do it in the first half, but we didn’t do it very well,” Fennelly said. “We just said we have to get [Anderson] the ball – either let her set the initial screen or have someone else screen for her – and we made some really good plays early.”

During that big run, Anderson scored all eight of her points and sophomore guard Alison Lacey capped the run with a short jumper to make it a 35-21 game.

“We definitely tried to get the ball inside to [Anderson] and she did a good job of finishing and drawing some fouls,” Lacey said. “If she is aggressive on the inside, it opens things up for the rest of us on the outside.”

Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson said her team’s struggles coming out of halftime have defined the season for the Jayhawks.

“Right now, we’re not going to the NCAA Tournament because we can’t play six minutes out of the locker room,” Henrickson said. “Give Iowa State credit – they are a team that, when you make a mistake, they pounce.”

The Jayhawks (15-13, 4-11) made a 7-0 run after Iowa State’s big run, but Lacey, who finished with 19 points, hit a three to extend the lead back into double digits. Lacey also had another three and a three-point play as the shot clock went off to fight off other Kansas five- and six-point spurts.

“It is really important when she hit them, because it gets the crowd back into it, which really helps us out,” Anderson said.

A big part of the Jayhawks’ attempt at a comeback were their 17 offensive rebounds, and Fennelly said some of that had to do with fatigue.

“It is like you’re trying to drive from here to Des Moines and you’re out of gas, but you’re not stopping,” Fennelly said. “We were going to finish with those [players], even though they were gassed, and I think Kansas sensed it.”

Eight of those offensive rebounds were corralled by forward Taylor McIntosh, who ended the game with 15 points and 16 rebounds.

With the victory, Iowa State closed out the home slate for the season at 13-4. Lacey said she was more nervous than she had ever been for a game this season.

“It was important for us to give the fans a win,” Lacey said. “We had a good turnout today – it was awesome to run out and see that Hilton was packed.”

Fennelly said his team’s focus for this game was to thank the fans – the 11,824-strong crowd – who came to the game Saturday, for their support.

“The only way to really show the appreciation for people you really care about is to give a good effort,” Fennelly said. “We didn’t talk about winning, we didn’t talk about the NCAA tournament – all that we talked about was when the people left here today that they were excited about what they saw.”

The Cyclones will close out the regular season 7 p.m. Wednesday at Nebraska.