K-State avoids upset as Iowa State's rally falls short

AMES, Iowa (AP) -- Kansas State had to work a lot harder to beat Iowa State the second time around.

Kimberly Dietz scored 18 of her 20 points in the first half and No. 17 Kansas State held off Iowa State's second-half charge for a 45-42 victory Wednesday night.

The Wildcats beat Iowa State by 31 at home last month, but they weren't sure of winning this one until the Cyclones' Alison Lacey missed a leaner with 6 seconds left.

That game in Manhattan was played a week after Iowa State lost starting center Nicky Wieben to a torn ACL. The Cyclones had lost forward Toccara Ross to a torn ACL in December.

"This was the real Iowa State," K-State coach Deb Patterson said. "When they were in Manhattan, they were devastated emotionally. When you're blown out of the water with two injuries and on the road in the Big 12, it's really hard."

Lacey, however, didn't feel a whole lot better about keeping it close.

"I don't know what's worse, 30 points or three," she said. "I can't answer that."

Kansas State (17-6, 9-1 Big 12) has won 12 of 13 after a 5-5 start and is in sole possession of first place in the league. The Wildcats made eight of their first 13 shots and built a 12-point lead in the first half, then found themselves scrambling to avoid the upset.

"We were just not effective against the defense Iowa State brought to the floor," Patterson said.

Trailing 43-42 with less than 2 minutes remaining, Iowa State (15-8, 4-6) had two chances to take the lead.

After the Cyclones' Heather Ezell stole the ball, Lacey missed a driving shot from the right side with 52 seconds to play. Kansas State's Marlies Gipson misfired from the baseline at the other end and Kelsey Bolte rebounded for ISU, giving the Cyclones another chance.

Lacey drove in from the left side, but was cut off and put up a leaning shot that bounced off the rim. She then fouled Gipson, who made two free throws for the final points.

"I'd take a driving layup with her against anybody," Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. "You've got a driving layup going to the goal, you make it, you've got a chance to win, you miss it you lose. It comes down to that a lot of times."

Gipson finished with 12 points, including eight in the second half. Lacey's 13 points led Iowa State and Jocelyn Anderson scored 10. The Cyclones shot only 32 percent and were just 4-for-21 from 3-point range.

Lacey and Ezell, the starting guards, were a combined 2-for-15 from behind the arc and 6-for-28 overall.

"We are a team, probably more so than any other, that relies on making shots," Fennelly said. "We're not going to turn you over, we're not going to maul you in the post. We've got to make some shots. We had some times when we had wide open looks at the basket and they just didn't go down."

Dietz shot 8-for-9 in the first half, including a pair of 3-pointers, and outscored Iowa State 18-17. But the Cyclones shadowed her closely in the second half and she didn't get her first shot of the half until the 11:07 mark.

Her only basket of the second half came at a critical time, though, a driving shot that gave the Wildcats a 41-38 lead.

"They were up on me a little harder in the second half," said Dietz, who ended up 9-for-13 from the field. "We couldn't get in the flow in the second half like in the first half."

Iowa State trailed 26-17 at halftime, then started the second half with a 13-4 run to tie the score at 30 on Lacey's 3-pointer. Ezell's 3 from the left corner tied it at 35, but Gipson answered with a putback and a jumper and the Wildcats led the rest of the way.