Cyclones dominate paint in win over UNI

Matt Gubbels

Once again struggling from three-point range, the ISU women’s basketball team went inside and wore down the Northern Iowa Panthers Tuesday.

Junior Nicky Wieben led the Cyclones (8-1) in tiring out the Panthers (4-5) with 17 points in the 69-41 victory. Iowa State led 34-20 at the half but Wieben scored 11 of the Cyclones’ first 14 second-half points as they were able to stretch the lead to 22 and never look back.

Wieben said her getting the ball early in the second half was just a product of how the game developed.

“Once we started getting the ball inside, I started to score a couple and we started to run a couple more plays for me to get it inside,” Wieben said. “We were really just looking for whoever was open.”

Coach Bill Fennelly said he felt his team missed some opportunities to score in the first half.

“Partially because we missed people that were open, and partially because we weren’t active enough,” Fennelly said. “In the second half, we were much more aggressive getting stuff going to the goal.”

Sophomore point guard Alison Lacey complimented Wieben’s play with 16 points and all three of the Cyclones’ three-pointers, which went with a 38-16 advantage in points in the paint and a 45-24 advantage on the glass.

Lacey said Iowa State just wanted to take advantage of the superior size it had inside.

“We wanted to get the ball inside to Jocelyn and Nicky,” Lacey said. “They did a good job finishing around the basket, a lot better than we had been lately.”

UNI coach Tonya Warren said even though junior guard Heather Ezell had struggled lately the Panthers did not want her to get going.

“Our gameplan was to faceguard her and pick and choose when we trap the post,” Warren said. “With Iowa State you kind of have to pick your poison.”

Freshman point guard Jacqui Kalin scored 22 points to lead the Panthers, who only had nine players suited due to a mass of injuries. UNI was not able to compliment her, however, as they had no other player with more than six points and shot only just over 30 percent to 49 percent for Iowa State.

With the victory, the Cyclones wrapped up their third straight mythical state championship.

Fennelly said for his team to sweep the three in-state opponents (UNI, Drake, and Iowa) the last three seasons says a lot about his players and their focus on these games.

“You have to beat three good teams to do it,” Fennelly said. “It probably doesn’t mean a whole lot to people outside the state of Iowa, but it means a lot to us and a lot to our fans.”