AMES – Sometimes, it’s pretty simple.
Iowa State didn’t play well – credit Oklahoma State. In front of a packed Hilton Coliseum, the Cyclones fell to the No. 15 Cowgirls, 69-62.
The loss is the first of the season for Iowa State after starting the year 14-0.
“Quite frankly, we played as well as we could possibly play,” Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said.
The Cyclones were clearly not themselves on Saturday. No. 11 Iowa State uncharacteristically turned the ball over 17 times – against eight assists – and shot just 36.7 percent from the floor. The Cyclones were 3-of-17 from behind the arc.
Even worse, Iowa State lacked effort according to guard Brynn Williamson.
“The stat sheet can say what it wants, but tonight, I think it was just effort,” she said.
Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly was disappointed if that was the case.
“If the emotion and effort was lacking in this game, they need to look in the mirror and they need a new coach,” Fennelly said.
“To play a team like this in this environment and lack emotion and effort – no excuse. That’s my responsibility, my responsibility. I promise you that will be taken care of.”
Iowa State led 32-29 at the break, but things spiraled the wrong direction from there. The Cowgirls opened the second half with a 17-5 run.
Tiffany Bias drilled a 3-pointer to start the spurt, and then scored on a breakaway layup to take a 34-32 lead. Brittney Martin hit consecutive buckets to make it 46-37.
When Hallie Christofferson picked up fourth foul with 7:38 remaining, the game looked over. Instead of attacking, the Cyclones on the floor looked at each other hoping someone us would take the shot.
“I don’t think we can look at the bench and hope she comes back in,” Williamson said. “I think we do that a lot. As soon as she goes out, we pray that she’s going to come back in in the next minute.”
The Cyclones offense went stagnant until Christofferson returned down 58-49. Christofferson scored on a traditional 3-point play to pull the Cyclones within 58-52. Seanna Johnson came through with a tough bucket in traffic to make it 60-54.
Johnson swished a 3-pointer from the left corner to cut the deficit to 63-60, but it wasn’t enough to stay unbeaten.
“When Seanna hit that 3, there were 11,000 people in the stands who were more excited than us,” Williamson said.
Most the Cyclones struggled on Saturday with the exception of Christofferson and Johnson. Christofferson scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Johnson notched her third double double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Nikki Moody tallied 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
“The one thing I do feel bad (about), it’s not the loss, it’s that we let our fans down,” Fennelly said. “Our fans are so good to us.”
Iowa State is back in action next Wednesday when it hosts West Virginia at 7 p.m.
Brynn Williamson on the up and down play of the Cyclones on Saturday
“Throughout the game, we took a few minutes off. That worked in the preseason against William and Mary and Holy Cross and teams like that. Thing is, we’re in the Big 12 now. One minute off and it’s game. You saw that tonight.”
– Official attendance on Saturday was 10,505.
– Tiffany Bias led the Oklahoma State attack with 22 points.
– Brittney Martin (14), Brittany Atkins (13) and Kendra Suttles (11) all finished in double figures for the Cowgirls.
– Jadda Buckley scored nine points in the loss.