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AMES – Free Chelsea Poppens and Anna Prins. Watch out Red Raiders.
Shackled with foul trouble for the majority of the first half, Iowa State’s dominant duo was finally let loose after the break. The result? A Cyclones blowout win over Texas Tech.
Prins and Poppens combined for 22 points after halftime to push Iowa State to a 67-52 victory.
“I think in the second half, we played about as well as you can play,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said.
After a first half that featured more whistles than the Westminster Dog Show, the Cyclones went to work. Credit Poppens and Prins for most of the damage. Poppens scored on Iowa State’s first possession to set the tone and the Cyclones controlled play from there.
Poppens finished with 18 points and nine rebounds after playing only six minutes in the first half. Prins added 12 points of her own after seeing just three minutes of action before the break.
“Anna and I both were both pretty anxious there,” Poppens said. “We were ready to come back in the second half after we were rested up.”
Iowa State outscored the Red Raiders 42-23 in the second half and had a 18-4 advantage in the paint.
“All I told them was keep throwing it in the post, keep throwing it in the post,” Fennelly said. “The only thing I said was if you shoot a 3, you better be wide open.”
Poppens gave the Cyclones a 32-31 lead with a bucket inside. Iowa State didn’t trail again.
Following a Kidd Blaskowsky 3-pointer, Prins scored a pair of hoops for a 42-34 edge. By the time Poppens made another strong move inside for two and a 46-34 lead, the rout was on.
“In that second half, we really came out ready to go, fired up,” Hallie Christofferson said. “At halftime, in the locker room, everybody knew what they needed to do.”
In the flow offensively, the Cyclones switched to a zone defense and shut Texas Tech’s dribble penetration down. The Red Raiders made only six fields goals in the second half.
Christofferson played another solid game for Iowa State. The junior tallied 15 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high four blocks. Blaskowsky chipped in 10 points and Nikki Moody notched seven points and six assists.
The win pushes Iowa State’s record to 15-5 overall and 6-4 in the Big 12.
Player of the game
Chelsea Poppens plays basketball with non-stop effort, so sitting on the bench with foul trouble isn’t her favorite. Forced to watch for 14 minutes in the first half, it gave the senior even more energy for the crucial final 20 minutes.
Poppens scored 15 points after halftime to lead Iowa State to a big win. Fellow senior Anna Prins also responded with 10 second-half points of her own.
“I challenged those two a little bit,” Fennelly said. “They’re good enough, tough enough, committed enough to play a great second half.”
The Cyclones continually worked the ball inside after half. It paid off. After trailing 29-25 at the break, the game turned into a blowout.
– Chelsea Poppens passed Anne O’Neil for 15thall-time in scoring with 1,203 points.
– Iowa State moved to 14-1 this season when it outrebounds its opponent. The Cyclones had a 38-29 advantage over the Red Raiders on Saturday.
– Texas Tech shot 28.8 percent from the field in the loss. It was the eighth time Iowa State has held an opponent to less than 30 percent this year.
– Nikki Moody tallied five or more assists for the 17thtime this season.
It’s never easy to win on the road in the Big 12, even if your opponent is 2-7 in league play. The Cyclones will travel to Texas to take on the Longhorns on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Texas continues to struggle with injuries this season. Both Cokie Reed and Chelsea Bass “retired” in January after numerous injuries.
Earlier this season, Iowa State topped Texas 73-65 in overtime. Of course, that was with Reed on the floor for the Longhorns. Nikki Moody paced the Cyclones’ offense with 14 points and 10 assists in the win.