Cyclones finish strong in Big 12 victory

Matt Gubbels

When freshman Kelsey Bolte was struggling against Texas Tech on Wednesday, someone had to pick up the slack.

Junior center Jocelyn Anderson took on a good portion of that task by scoring a career-high 14 points and corralling nine rebounds to help lead the ISU women’s basketball team to a 66-58 win over the Texas Tech Lady Raiders Wednesday night.

The victory for the Cyclones (14-7, 3-5 Big 12) was of added significance because it allowed Iowa State to overtake Texas Tech (14-8, 2-6) in the Big 12 standings, and it gave the Cyclones the tie-breaking advantage for seeding in the Big 12 Tournament if the two teams end up tied after conference play.

Anderson’s play complemented the second straight 20-plus point game by sophomore point guard Alison Lacey, who scored a game-high 32 points, 20 of those coming in the second half.

Texas Tech coach Kristy Curry said her team was trying to double-team in the post, but could not get there quickly enough.

“You certainly have to credit [Anderson],” Curry said. “Because of the injuries they’ve had, she’s been thrust into some big minutes, and she responded tonight.”

In a rather sluggish half which ended in a 21-21 tie, Anderson and Lacey scored 19 of the Cyclones’ 21 points.

Anderson then came out of the break on fire, scoring seven points in a 12-2 run in the opening 4:30 of the second stanza.

“We just went out and pushed it hard,” Anderson said.

Curry said her team lost the game in those first four-and-a-half minutes of the second half.

“We didn’t come out with the kind of energy we had in the first half,” Curry said.

That run gave the Cyclones the lead for good, but the Lady Raiders would not go down without a fight. Texas Tech slowly fought its way back into the game and cut the lead to 50-47 at the 4:14 mark thanks to some hot shooting from Tiny Henderson, who ended up with a team-high 17 points, and Erin Myrick.

Lacey and Bolte, however, hit several big shots down the stretch to keep the Lady Raiders at arm’s length, and junior Heather Ezell, who ended up with 10 points, was able to hit six of six free throws the in the last minute to seal the game.

Lacey said she felt, when the Lady Raiders hit a shot, the Cyclones needed to respond.

“Every time I felt that it was important for us, if we wanted to stay in the game, to make a shot at our end,” Lacey said. “I think we did a good job overall of rebounding it when they missed and getting it to our end.”

The Cyclones lost a game Saturday against Kansas in which they led late, and coach Bill Fennelly said that was the main part of the film the coaches showed the players.

“We talked about finishing the game and making plays,” Fennelly said. “Today, we played great the last four minutes.”

Along with her big scoring night, Anderson also blocked six shots, including four by preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Dominic Seals. Anderson was able to hold Seals to 13 points on only 5-of-13 shooting.

Lacey said when Anderson blocks shots, she gets the rest of the team going.

“Her getting blocks is huge,” Lacey said. “Everyone gets a little more pumped up to play offense.”

Fennelly said he felt great for Anderson and her performance under such great pressure.

“There is probably isn’t a human being in the city of Ames that has a bigger smile on her face than Jocelyn Anderson,” Fennelly said. “She got off the bus after the Kansas game crying, thinking she was the person who was responsible for us losing the game.”

“I feel really good for [Anderson] because she is trying everything she can to help this team win a game, and she was a huge part of the game tonight,” Fennelly said.