ISU undefeated in mini-season

Jeremy Gustafson

Forget any other type of record. As far as they are concerned, the Cyclones are 3-0.

That’s after handing No. 9 Kansas State its first loss at home this season, 86-72 Saturday night.

“It was a real big test,” said ISU point guard Lindsey Wilson, who scored 25 points to lead the No. 16 Cyclones. “We had been waiting to play them since we lost to them at home.”

On Jan. 2, the Wildcats stopped Iowa State’s 26 game winning streak in Hilton Coliseum with a 69-63 win.

That was one of five losses in seven Big 12 Conference games that prompted Iowa State to change the way it looked at things.

“All of the sudden we had five losses,” Wilson said. “But we didn’t lose hope or anything. It wasn’t like we had blown our whole season.”

The Cyclones just shortened their year and focused on the final nine games. Through the first three, Iowa State has beat Nebraska, 82-71, Missouri, 87-61 and now Kansas State.

“It made us focus on a shorter season,” said Tracy Gahan, who along with Angie Welle posted a double-double in the victory over Kansas State. “We had to realize this isn’t normal for us. We aren’t used to losing this much.”

Gahan scored 21 points and pulled down 11 boards while Welle added 20 points and 14 rebounds.

“We just kind of regrouped and stepped up our playing a little bit,” Gahan said.

Now the Cyclones are a force to be reckoned with in the Big 12, having victories over the league’s top two team – Oklahoma and Kansas State. Iowa State also moved its conference record to 5-5 and overall record to 17-5. The win put Iowa State to within 1.5 games of third place in the Big 12.

“We’ve taken our hits early,” Wilson said. “We learned a lot about each other and our team. We’ve had a lot of adversity to face. It’s brought us closer together.”

While nearly every game for the remainder of the season will be tough, the Cyclones have many of the Big 12 juggernauts out of the way. Iowa State has already played Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas State and at Colorado.

The only ranked teams left on the schedule are No. 17 Colorado and No. 10 Baylor, both in Ames.

“We’ve played probably the toughest first half in the Big 12 of anybody,” Wilson said. “We had some down times during the early part, but we’ve bounced back.”

Before getting too far ahead of themselves, the Cyclones must focus on playing Kansas in Lawrence.

While the Jayhawks have an 0-10 record in the conference and a 4-18 mark overall, Iowa State won’t be overlooking this contest.

“They always play great against us,” Gahan said.

The Cyclones are just 2-20 in team history when they play at Kansas. Last season the Jayhawks prevailed over then No. 6 Iowa State, 69-61.

“It’s gonna be a huge game,” Wilson said. “They seem to always play the game of their lives against us.”

The Cyclones and Jayhawks will tip off at 7 p.m. Wednesday night. For Iowa State, it will be a chance to go 4-0.

“Every win for this team is big,” Gahan said.