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
"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
Claire Coggins led Kansas State with 18 points and Megan Mahoney
"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
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."