Creighton `scare’ wakes up ISU

Jeremy Gustafson

When you’re ranked No. 5 in the country, you take everyone’s best shot.

The ISU women’s basketball team certainly knows this, after getting all it could handle and more from the Creighton Bluejays.

“We knew it would be a very difficult game going in,” ISU head coach Bill Fennelly said.

He knew this because last year the Cyclones were close to falling to the Bluejays in Hilton Coliseum, holding off Creighton for a 74-71 win.

Tuesday night, the Bluejays almost took their upset bid a step further, but the Cyclones prevailed in overtime, 75-74.

“They’re very scrappy,” said Lindsey Wilson, who made the game-winning jumper with 4.2 seconds left.

“It was a good scare for us,” she added. “It shows us that we can’t just show up and win.”

It was the will to win that was most impressive for the Cyclones. Down three points with 32 seconds to play, the Cyclones’ unblemished record was in trouble.

A quick score by center Angie Welle, who netted 23 points, pulled Iowa State to within one point. That set up Wilson’s dramatic ending.

“We originally wanted to get it to Tracy [Gahan] for a three,” Fennelly said. “If that wasn’t available, we wanted to take the quick two.”

Iowa State fouled Creighton’s Christy Neneman, who missed the first end of a one-and-one. Welle grabbed the rebound, her 19th of the night, and gave it to Wilson. Wilson drove down court and pulled up just inside the free-throw line to bury the winning shot and Creighton’s hopes for an upset.

“I had no doubt in my mind that she was gonna make it,” said forward Mary Cofield, who scored 11 points.

“[Wilson’s] a tough match-up for anybody in that situation,” Fennelly said.

“Big-time players like to make big plays. She didn’t have her best all-around game, but she wants to do the things it takes to win.”

Wilson finished with 21 points and four assists.

“Everybody has ups and downs,” Wilson said. “It’s normal. We have to accept the fact that people are going to be gearing for us.”

Despite the close score, the Cyclones were impressed with their ability to win the game under the circumstances.

“People stepped up and showed that they had it in their heart to win,” Cofield said.

Now the Cyclones will focus on getting some rest for the `Big Three’ of Wilson, Welle and junior guard Tracy Gahan. Those three play a combined 110 minutes on average each game. Throw in Cofield and her 33.3 minutes and there are four Cyclones playing a good portion of each game.

“We’ll have some rest time,” Fennelly said. “We’ll get the Big Three and Mary Cofield some rest.”

Iowa State is next in action Dec. 5 when it travels to Des Moines to play Drake. The game starts at 7 p.m.