Turnovers lead to another ISU loss

Jeremy Gustafson

In a conference where seven of 12 teams are ranked in the Top 25, every mistake made has the potential to cost a team the game.

When those mistakes start to multiply, then the chances for disaster start to stand out.

The ISU women’s basketball team is a prime example. After running through the pre-conference schedule 12-0, the Cyclones have hit a roadblock of late struggling to a 2-4 start in the ultra-tough Big 12.

Turnovers have been the main source of Iowa State’s struggles as the team has had a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde tone to its wins and losses.

In victories over Nebraska and then No. 3 Oklahoma, the Cyclones had only 32 combined turnovers. They matched that number in a 88-71 loss to Texas A&M and turned the ball over 20 more times in a one-point loss to No. 13 Texas.

Saturday against No. 12 Texas Tech, the Cyclones showed their bad side, mishandling the ball 20 times to the Lady Raiders’ nine and losing 78-66 at home.

“Our goal is to get [no more than] 14 [turnovers],” ISU center Angie Welle said. “Myself made us over halfway there.”

Welle had eight of the Cyclones’ miscues on Saturday. She also scored 26 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.

“In the second half, we had some careless turnovers,” she added. “It’s going to kill you.”

Despite the struggles Iowa State still had a shot. They entered halftime trailing by six points and Tracy Paustian hit a three-pointer to pull the Cyclones to within three as the second half was still young.

However Texas Tech took off from there, capitalizing on Cyclone mishaps and turning them into Lady Raider three-pointers.

“When we get back in the game like that, as a team, we have to do a better job of realizing the next possession is huge,” ISU point guard Lindsey Wilson said. “We let them score and all of the sudden it was a 12-point game again.”

The Lady Raiders were led by Amber Tarr and Naalie Ritchie who scored 21 and 17 points respectively and played a large role in Texas Tech shooting 57.1 percent from the three-point line.

Tarr hit five of seven threes and Ritchie nailed four of six. The Lady Raiders hit 12 of 21 on the game.

Welle blamed all the turnovers.

“When I was turning it over, it got them in the game right away,” she said. “If we would have jumped on them right from the beginning, handled the balls and did what we were supposed to do, it would have been a completely different story. We gave them confidence right from the beginning and they ran away with it.”

ISU head coach Bill Fennelly gave the Lady Raider defense credit for causing the Cyclones to turn the ball over.

“When you play good teams they make bad things happen to you,” he said.

The Cyclones will face yet another challenge at 8 p.m. on Wednesday when they travel to Boulder to face the Buffaloes where last year Colorado upset then-No. 6 Iowa State 73-66.