7:00 PM ET, March 8, 2007
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Lyndsey Medders did everything she could to get Iowa State into the Big 12 tournament semifinals. She was just fine with her teammates pushing the Cyclones to the next level.Heather Ezell and Alison Lacey scored 11 points apiece and Iowa State used a late run with Medders on the bench to beat Texas A&M (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today; No. 13 AP) 57-51 Thursday night and advance to the Big 12 championship game.The Cyclones (25-7) outscored the top-seeded Aggies 8-1 while Medders was saddled with foul trouble, breaking a late tie to advance to the conference title game for the first time since they won Big 12 championships in 2000 and 2001."I'll be the biggest cheerleader whether I'm playing or sitting," said Medders, Iowa State's leading scorer.As Medders looked on, Nicky Wieben hit a turnaround jumper in the lane to put Iowa State up 49-47, and the Aggies (24-6) didn't get another field goal until the waning moments -- repeating a 6-minute drought that cost them in a 61-54 loss at Iowa State on Feb. 14.Toccara Ross followed Wieben's basket with a jumper in the key and -- after a free throw by Texas A&M's La Toya Micheaux -- Ezell added a floater in the lane. Ross' layup off a backdoor cut pushed the lead to 55-48 by the time Medders checked back in with 2:15 left.A night earlier, the fifth-seeded Cyclones needed 27 points from Medders -- including a tying 3-pointer to force overtime -- to beat Nebraska in the quarterfinals.This time, Cyclones assistant Latoja Harris was encouraging Medders' teammates to pick her up."She kept telling the kids Lyndsey got us to this game, now we've got to get her to the next game," Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. "That's exactly what good teams do. That's what teams do that are still playing."Medders scored only two points in the second half -- on a pair of free throws -- and finished with eight."I was the one with six turnovers, so it might have been a good thing that I was out," Medders said.Texas A&M lost for only the second time in its last 13 games, with both defeats coming at the hands of the surging Cyclones. Iowa State has won eight straight games and will meet either second-seeded Oklahoma for the Big 12 title Saturday.Takia Starks scored 15 points to lead Texas A&M, which shot 33 percent in the second half. The Aggies missed eight straight shots before Danielle Gant converted a three-point play in the closing seconds to provide the final margin."At certain moments of the game, we can really tighten up and lock down and get some key stops," Iowa State guard Megan Ronhovde said. "That last 6 minutes, that was critical for us."Iowa State, the Big 12's most prolific 3-point shooting team, took its first eight shots of the second half from long range and hit five to build a 43-35 lead on Ezell's 3 from the left corner.Ezell then missed four straight shots -- including the Cyclones' first two-point attempt of the half more than 8 minutes in -- as the Aggies got back within 43-41 on A'Quonesia Franklin's 3-pointer from the top of the key.The Aggies got even on Starks' jumper that tied it at 45.Medders then picked up her fourth foul and went to the bench with 5:46 remaining and the score tied at 47, but her teammates were able to give a lift to the Big 12 assists leader."This wasn't an upset," Aggies coach Gary Blair said. "They're that good."The Cyclones ended up going 10-for-26 on 3-pointers against an Aggies defense that had led the Big 12 by allowing opponents to shoot only 26.2 percent from long range. Ronhovde and Ezell each hit three 3-pointers.The Cyclones overcame 12 first-half turnovers and led 28-25 after Ezell's 3-pointer from the right side -- the only field goal by either team in the final 3 1/2 minutes before the break.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||21-43 (.488)||21-59 (.356)|
|3P Made-Attempted||10-23 (.435)||6-18 (.333)|
|FT Made-Attempted||5-6 (.833)||3-8 (.375)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||13 (0/0)||14 (0/0)|