Cyclones whirl into Sweet 16

Jeremy Gustafson

For one last time the Cyclone seniors walked off the Hilton Coliseum, and for the third straight time they walked into the Sweet 16.

By dropping seventh-seeded Florida State 85-70, the Cyclones advance to the Pepsi Center to play the winner of Vanderbilt vs. Colorado.

“There’s a great maturity on the team,” Cyclone head coach Bill Fennelly said. “Obviously, we’ve got two great senior leaders.”

The two leaders Fennelly spoke of, Megan Taylor and Erica Haugen, led the Cyclones offensively and defensively past the Seminoles.

Taylor knocked home 22 points and grabbed three rebounds while Haugen hit three three-pointers for nine points and collected four steals.

With yesterday’s win, Taylor and Haugen finished their career on the Hilton hardwood with a 62-2 overall record.

“To be in a position to get to the Sweet 16 three years in a row is really an amazing accomplishment in modern day basketball,” Fennelly said. “These young people have earned that right to be called one of the best 16 teams in the country.”

The Cyclones got in the position to advance by knocking down open threes, playing strong in the post and shutting down FSU’s top threat, April Traylor.

Traylor, who scored 30 against Tulane Friday, was held to 10 points yesterday before fouling out with 1:39 to go.

“April’s a big threat,” FSU senior Brooke Wyckoff said. “But we have a lot of other threats on our team, unfortunately some shots didn’t fall.”

Iowa State held the Florida State Seminoles to 41 percent shooting as they went 27-66 from the floor.

The Cyclones shot 49 percent on 29-59 shooting, led by junior Angie Welle who went 11-19 from the field, scoring 26 points.

Welle also led the Cyclones in rebounds with 13. The Cyclones held the rebounding advantage over the Seminoles ,39-35.

“I felt like, defensively, we haven’t seen any offensive teams like this,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “I thought we did a good job on Welle in the first half.”

Welle scored only eight points in the first 20 minutes, but exploded for 18 in the second half.

“I think maybe I was concentrating on the defense too much,” she said. “But Coach Fennelly never told me to stop shooting, so that’s kinda reassuring.”

Welle was helped by 12 three-pointers made by the Cyclones, making it hard to double team the first-team All Big 12 center.

Taylor cashed in five of the threes, followed by Haugen’s three, with Lindsey Wilson and Tracy Gahan each adding two.

As a team the Cyclones were 44 percent from behind the arc.

“You can’t dig down against Iowa State because they’ve got great shooters,” Wycoff said.

“I think everybody on the perimeter hit a big shot,” Welle said.

Semrau said that she thought that Iowa State played a very balanced game.

“I love how hard Iowa State plays,” Semrau said. “They get the most out of what they have.”

Florida State didn’t go quietly as they pulled to within five, at 57-52, but the Cyclones answered with a seven-point run giving Iowa State a 12-point lead.

Taylor started the run by making one of two free throws.

Welle finished it by making two more.

Florida State was never able to get within striking distance again as they faltered down the stretch in the final 10 minutes.

“I think they kind of started to wear down,” Taylor said. “We knew they weren’t going to just lay down.”

Florida State was led by Katelyn Vujas, who scored 15 on 7-13 shooting. Leading the Seminoles in rebounds was Levys Torres, who snagged 12 boards.

Fennelly told his players not to look ahead of Florida State to the games in Colorado.

“Everybody was asking me how far it was to Denver – 12, 14 hours. I told ’em it was 40 minutes away,” Fennelly said.

The Cyclones now can look ahead as they will play Saturday in Denver.

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