Cyclones edge out win against TCU, 72-69


AMES — Overcoming a sluggish first quarter, the Iowa State women’s basketball team clawed its way back in the second quarter and held on in the second half for the 72-69 win against TCU Saturday inside Hilton Coliseum.

The start of the game was pushed by five hours when TCU had travel difficulties getting out of Texas.

“It’s not that hard,” said TCU head coach Raegan Pebley. “I’m not going to complain one second. Our life is pretty cush. It is what it is. So, yeah, we’ve gone through some travel issues, but I’m not going to complain. We have charter planes. We have hotels. Our life is not hard.”

ISU coach Bill Fennelly praised the ISU staff and fans for being flexible about the time change on short notice.

“When you go 5-for-37 in the first and fourth quarters and still win, that’s a great compliment to their effort,” Fennelly said, “but the fans and the staff were trying to work this thing through at midnight and early this morning. It’s classy for TCU to make the effort to get here. Glad they got here safely and the game could go on.

“One of those kind of games we haven’t had all year. The ball bounced our way. The magic was in the building today.”

Bridget Carleton led the Cyclones (12-9, 3-7 Big 12) with 24 points, going 10-for-10 from the free-throw line. As a team, ISU shot 93.1 percent (27-for-29) from the charity stripe. Emily Durr was the only other Cyclone with double digits, scoring 16. Meredith Burkhall and Seanna Johnson each chipped in nine points. Jadda Buckley added eight points. Johnson led ISU with 19 rebounds, 13 being pulled down on the defensive end of the court. A third of ISU’s 49 rebounds came of the offensive end.

After shooting just 3-of-22 (13.6 percent) and 2-of-12 from 3-point land in the first quarter, the Cyclones fell behind 24-8 through the first 10 minutes. TCU (10-11, 2-8 Big 12) made five 3-pointers in the opening quarter, including four in a row to stretch its lead from 8-5 to 20-5.

ISU roared back with a 13-0 run in the second quarter as the Horned Frogs went 4 minutes, 48 seconds without a point in the second. Durr scored ISU’s first five points of the run with a jumper and a 3-pointer as she had 10 of ISU’s first 13 points in the game. Carleton shot 0-for-5 from long range in the first quarter, but she kept shooting, and made a three to pull the Cyclones within 24-16.

TeeTee Starks hits a pair of free throws, as did Carleton, and Seanna Johnson went 1-of-2 from the charity stripe, trimming TCU’s lead to 24-21.

“It was so frustrating,” Fennelly said. “We weren’t turning the ball over. We had 11 turnovers. I think we had 41 field goal attempts at halftime, which is ridiculous for us. They just weren’t going in. Luckily we hit a few in the second quarter, so you go from down 16 to now it’s a game.”

Carleton made another 3-pointer about a minute before halftime, and a Heather Bowe layup the next time down the court for the Cyclones tied things 34-all. TCU’s Amy Okonkwo drew a foul, and converted the and-one opportunity to give the Horned Frogs a 37-34 halftime lead.

Buckley hit a 3-pointer just under 90 seconds into the third quarter to tie the game 39-all. A 3-pointer from Durr then gave ISU a 42-39 lead, its first lead of the game since 3-2 in the first quarter. The contest was a tight one the entire second half. The Cyclones held a seven-point lead two different times in the final two minutes of the third, but the Horned Frogs had the deficit down to one 18 seconds into the fourth. The lead was maintained by the Cyclones all throughout the fourth, but ISU never led by more than five.

“(Thankfully) we competed enough to get the crowd back in the game,” Fennelly said. “The car was running out of gas, and we had to push it to the locker room, but at least we got to the locker room.”