(Morgantown) A resilient No. 24 Iowa State women’s basketball team (14-4 overall, 5-3 Big 12) trailed by 14 in the first half and by 12 points early in the second half, but then rallied to beat West Virginia (11-8, 3-5) 53-49 Saturday in WVU Coliseum. Hallie Christofferson led the Cyclones with 23 points on just seven field goal attempts and made a pair of free throws with 6.5 seconds left to ice Iowa State’s second Big 12 road victory of the season.
“Life in the Big 12 is like this,” Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said. “The identity of this team is that it really competes. To be down 14 on the road and looking bad and then fight back to win is a tribute to our players. Kim Moody had a great last 10 minutes. We held their guards to a total of 12 points. We found a way. That is how you do it in conference play. With the Texas Tech road win and this one we have had a couple of big ones. Hallie was incredible.”
It didn’t begin well for Iowa State. West Virginia hit on 11 of its first 14 shots and led 22-8 with 11:32 left in the first half. The Cyclones fought back and pulled within 27-25 on a three by Anna Prins late in the initial stanza. But the Mountaineers scored the last seven points of the first half and led 34-25 at the break.
West Virginia’s Ayana Dunning hit on a trey attempt with 19:25 left in the game to give the Mountaineers a 37-25 advantage. But West Virginia was cooling off. The Mountaineers shot just 25 percent (8-32) in the last 29:28 of the contest as Iowa State’s defenders battled on each possession. Fennelly’s Cyclones held West Virginia’s starting guards, Chirstal Caldwell and Taylor Palmer, to just 10 points. They had combined for 24.9 points a game coming into Saturday’s contest. Center Ayana Dunning had 17 points and seven rebounds to lead the Mountaineers.
Iowa State took its first lead at 47-45 on a basket by Fallon Ellis with less than five minutes to go. Chelsea Poppens had 10 points and seven rebounds in 27 minutes for Iowa State. Moody had 10 points and six assists.The Cyclones were cheered on by the Iowa State wrestling team, which was in the stands after beating West Virginia, 30-3 earlier in the day.
The Iowa State women play at Kansas Wednesday at 7 p.m.
January 27, 2013