After big win, can Iowa State keep rolling?

Jeremy Gustafson

Iowa State made beating No. 3 Oklahoma look easy.

The trick will be if they can bottle that emotion and come out as fired up Saturday as they did against the defending Big 12 Conference champions on Tuesday.

“We’re playing at home, we’re coming off a win,” ISU center Angie Welle said. “It’d be a joke if we didn’t come out fired up.”

The Cyclones had little time to enjoy the victory over the Sooners, the highest-ranked team Iowa State has ever beaten. Wednesday was an off day, and it was back to business Thursday as they prepared for No. 15 Texas Tech.

“I think we realized what approach we had going into the Oklahoma game,” Welle said. “We need to build on that and carry through on that.”

Welle had a near flawless effort Tuesday, making 10 of 11 shots for 28 points and moving into second place on the Cyclones’ all-time scoring list. Welle has 1,812 behind only Megan Taylor’s 1,866.

But the season isn’t about individual efforts. Welle wants to help the No. 14 Cyclones right their ship and did a big part of that with the 82-66 win over Oklahoma that improved Iowa State to 14-3 overall and 2-3 in the Big 12.

Welle also knows she can’t do it alone. If the Cyclones are going to win they will need contributions from the newcomers, something they’ve had in their wins this year.

“It’s a hard role to come in and be thrown into the fire right away,” Welle said.

Cyclone freshman Tracy Paustian is a perfect example. After earning a starting spot, she has played big minutes full of ups and downs.

“It was a big adjustment going from coming off the bench and going in to starting,” said Paustian who is averaging 4.8 points a game. “The first few games I was really nervous. I’m getting a little more used to it and a little more relaxed.”

Paustian showed great poise against the talented Sooners. After missing a layup on the first shot of the game, she came out firing in the second half making two three-pointers as Iowa State took control of the game.

“They always say experience is a great teacher,” ISU head coach Bill Fennelly said. “Unfortunately, it can be a hard teacher too.”

Iowa State gets 68 percent of its offense from Welle, point guard Lindsey Wilson and Tracy Gahan, but Fennelly explained that scoring isn’t the only way newcomers Paustian, Mary Cofield, Melanie Bremer and Mary Fox can help the team.

“Most young players, their offense dictates how they play,” Fennelly explained. “We have to teach them that even though you’re not scoring, you can still help the team. You can play defense, you can rebound and you can take care of the ball.”

Each has shown great signs of potential, too.

Cofield hit six of 10 three-pointers for 22 points in a 40-point blowout of Northern Iowa. Bremer showed great offensive skills and ability to rebound in a loss to Kansas State and a big win over Nebraska.

“You always point to examples that you’ve done it before,” Fennelly said. “You just say hey, the pressure is not on them to be the focal point. The pressure is on Angie, Tracy and Lindsey. [The newcomer’s] job is to be role players.”

Of course the added offense doesn’t hurt.

“It helps when you get points from a lot of people,” Welle said. “I don’t think they need to feel the pressure that they have to score.”

If the newcomers come out Saturday for the 2 p.m. tip-off against 2-3, 10-5 Texas Tech like they did in the shellacking of the Sooners, the Lady Raiders may feel like they’ve been hit by a Cyclone.

“Everyone was so much more energized and more enthused,” Paustian said. “We have to remember that feeling.”