8:30 PM ET, March 13, 2009
OKLAHOMA CITY -- With Iowa State's top scorer sidelined by injury, Alison Lacey and Kelsey Bolte figured they needed to shoulder extra responsibility for the Cyclones.Both came up big for Iowa State (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP) in a tight game. Bolte hit a go-ahead turnaround jumper in the final minute while Lacey went 5-of-6 from 3-point range and finished with 25 points, nine rebounds and four assists as the Cyclones beat Texas (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 23 AP) 59-55 in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Conference tournament.Iowa State (24-7) advanced to meet No. 7 Baylor in the semifinals Saturday. The Cyclones also extended their winning streak to five games and made up for a 55-52 regular-season loss to Texas, their only loss at home all season.It proved to be an even matchup again Friday, as until the final seconds, when Iowa State sealed the win at the free-throw line, the teams never were separated by more than four points in a game with 17 lead changes.In such a tight game, "the biggest thing is you control what you can control," Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. "Control your effort, make plays, value the ball."Iowa State played without Heather Ezell, who hurt her right hand. Fennelly said Ezell won't play against Baylor but should return for the NCAA tournament.She wasn't the only guard dealing with a hand injury. Texas point guard Carla Cortijo played 16 minutes but left the game in the second half after aggravating what coach Gail Goestenkors said was an index finger that had been fractured in three places in the Longhorns' last game, a first-round win over Missouri. Cortijo will be able to play in the NCAA tournament, Goestenkors said.In Cortijo's absence, Texas used two freshmen at the point, Yvonne Anderson and Ashleigh Fontenette. Both committed turnovers in critical situations."Those are pressure situations," Goestenkors said. "They both played great, and I'm very proud of the way they played, especially on the defensive end, and they had the attack mindset. But it was putting freshmen in a tough situation ... and at times I thought they played like freshmen."Fontenette did lead Texas (21-11) in scoring with 13 points. The Longhorns have lost six of their last eight games but are all assured of an NCAA tournament berth."Most of our losses have been to ranked teams, so it's not like we've had bad losses. We haven't," Goestenkors said. "But confidence probably is an issue. I'm glad we have several days now to really just get back to basics. When you work hard and work on the little things, I think you can get your confidence back."Lacey made all four of her 3-point shots in the first half and her first of the second half. Her only miss came in the second half when she shot a 30-footer as the shot clock wound down on an Iowa State possession."It was just one of those nights," Lacey said. "You can't explain it. It just happens. I'm happy that it happened tonight."Bolte's basket with 57 seconds left put Iowa State up 54-52. At the other end, Bolte stole the ball from Brittainey Raven as Raven drove and rose to shoot, and the ball eventually ended up in Lacey's hands. Lacey was fouled and made two free throws with 27.9 seconds left.After Fontenette traveled, Bolte, who scored 12 points, made two more free throws to put the Cyclones ahead 58-52.Erika Arriaran missed a 3-point attempt for Texas and Raven missed a follow shot. Earnesia Williams scored on a putback, was fouled and made the free throw with 1.6 seconds left, but Iowa State's Denae Stuckey successfully inbounded to Nicky Wieben, who made one of two free throws with four-tenths of a second left."The last four minutes, the kids really did a great job of executing what we wanted them to do and defended as hard as we could defend against a team that we knew would keep coming at us in waves, and they did," Fennelly said.Raven, who came off the bench for the third straight game after starting all season, had 11 points for Texas, while Williams had 10. The Longhorns shot 32.8 percent from the field (19-of-58) and were unable to consistently generate offense.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press