8:00 PM ET, January 5, 2005
AMES, Iowa (AP) -- With a snowstorm outside and a smaller-than-usual crowd inside, Anne O'Neil and her teammates had to create their own excitement against No. 20 Kansas State.They certainly succeeded.O'Neil and Katie Robinette scored 21 points apiece, and Iowa State shot 64.6 percent in beating the Wildcats 78-59 on Wednesday night."The bottom line is a couple of people hit some shots and we just feed off that," O'Neil said. "That positive energy just rolls onto everybody else. Once somebody makes a shot, you get a little bit more confidence."The confidence was evident for the Cyclones (11-1), whose performance was a far cry from their sorry display the last time they played Kansas State, a 68-33 loss in Manhattan a year ago.Iowa State was especially effective from the perimeter in the Big 12 opener, going 10-for-14 from 3-point range. The Cyclones broke the game open with a 16-2 second-half run, delighting a crowd that was announced at 6,210 but was more like 4,000."The second half was huge for us offensively and our defense came together, too," Robinette said. "We had a lot of defensive stops and we went on a big run. We almost beat them by 20 points. I don't think anybody was expecting that."Kansas State (9-3) kept it close for a while despite Iowa State's torrid shooting. Ninety seconds into the second half, the Wildcats trailed by only three.But with stars Kendra Wecker and Laurie Koehn constantly misfiring, Kansas State simply couldn't keep pace.Wecker, who had averaged 23.3 points in three games since returning from a sprained ankle, had 16 but shot 7-for-25. Koehn, averaging 12.4 points, went 12½ minutes before taking her first shot and it was an airball. She finished with five points on 1-for-5 shooting.Claire Coggins led Kansas State with 18 points and Megan Mahoney scored 15."When we don't communicate defensively and we don't get the job done defensively, then they're going to bury us," Wecker said. "And they did that tonight."Kansas State coach Deb Patterson gambled by starting a smaller lineup that had the 6-foot Wecker as the tallest player. The move backfired because the 6-2 Robinette had her way around the basket.Robinette made nine of 15 shots, including her second 3-pointer of the season, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked five shots. She also defended Wecker much of the night.O'Neil was 8-for-12 from the field, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range.Lyndsey Medders added 12 points and eight assists for the Cyclones, while Mary Fox and Megan Ronhovde each scored 11. Ronhovde was 3-for-3 on 3-pointers."We weren't defending as well across the board with that lineup," Patterson said. "I think things escalated from there. I think it put our team at a disadvantage early and we never recovered from that."Ronhovde's 3 capped a 9-0 run that put Iowa State ahead to stay at 31-23. But the margin kept changing like a yo-yo, the Cyclones threatening to pull away and then Kansas State drawing closer.Seven straight points gave Iowa State a 52-42 lead, but Kansas State came right back and drew to 52-46 on Mahoney's layup. The Cyclones then went up by 13, only to see Kansas State get to 61-52 with 10 minutes left.That was as close as it got. Fox hit two straight 3-pointers and Medders followed with another 3, starting the decisive burst that stretched the lead to 77-54. Kansas State went nearly six minutes without a basket and never got back in it."When they walked those five people out on the floor, I about had a heart attack," Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. "That was not what we had prepared for. We really changed on the fly."
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