AMES – The Iowa State women’s basketball team remains an enigma.
Go ahead, try and figure the Cyclones out.
Just when it looked like Iowa State (16-6, 6-6) had righted the ship on a rollercoaster conference season, Texas Christian comes to Hilton Coliseum and knocks off the Cyclones, 61-60. Iowa State beat the Horned Frogs by 22 earlier this year in Ft. Worth.
“There’s a lot of things that need to happen different,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “I guess I’ll put it two ways. Number one, everything that happens here that’s not very good, I take 100 percent responsibility for it. That’s my job.
“And by saying that though, I also think sometimes you got to look within yourself and do what you’re supposed to do. I think our players have to make that decision.”
The energy seemed off all night, but it still looked like the Cyclones would still pull out a victory. Seanna Johnson rattled home a 3-pointer with 1 minute and eight seconds remaining to push Iowa State ahead 58-56.
Johnson responded again 50 seconds later. The tenacious freshman got fouled battling for a Jadda Buckley miss. Johnson calmly swished both free throws for a 60-58 edge.
It was all for naught. TCU coach Jeff Mittie called timeout to draw up a final play. It worked to perfection.
With all five Cyclones expecting a pass inside, Donielle Breaux found herself all alone for a 3-pointer and 61-60 lead.
“When it left my hand, I knew it felt good,” Breaux said.
“I was surprised I was that wide open.”
How did Breaux get such a good look? A simple lack of execution.
“We were supposed to switch every screen,” Fennelly said. “We didn’t switch. We had one person that didn’t switch.”
Iowa State got the ball back with 5.3 seconds left and a chance to win. Nikki Moody drove the length of the floor and appeared to be fouled. Instead, the refs called a jump ball with possession to the Horned Frogs.
“They called a jump ball,” Fennelly said. “That’s what they called. It doesn’t matter what I see.”
The Cyclones made uncharacteristic mistakes throughout the game. Facing a zone defense, Iowa State turned the ball over 16 times and only shot six foul shots.
Iowa State had trouble getting it inside because of TCU’s Latricia Lovings, a stellar defensive center.
“Two games against them, Hallie (Christofferson’s) really struggled,” Fennelly said. “She protects the basket. She’s one of the best shot blockers in the country.
The Cyclones need to find their identity in a hurry, the schedule only gets tougher from here. A trip to Texas is next on Sunday.
Player of the game
Give Brynn Williamson credit. She never stops firing.
Even when Williamson’s shooting percentage mirrored the temperature outside, the junior had confidence she’d snap the slump.
The deep-freeze ended Wednesday night, with Williamson heating up Hilton Coliseum for 18 points – her most in Big 12 play.
“Brynn shot really well,” Fennelly said.
Williamson entered Wednesday’s game averaging 7.9 points in conference games, making only 24 percent of her shots from 3-point range.
That changed against the Horned Frogs. Williamson hit six 3-pointers to tie a career high. Afterward, she was more concerned about the lapses that hurt Iowa State on the other end of the court.
“I’m not focused on my numbers or how I shot," she said. "I’m more focused on the mistakes we made on defense that gave them open looks and ended up costing us the game.”
– Official attendance on Wednesday night was 10,028
– Kidd Blaskowsky started her second consecutive game for Iowa State. It’s the first two starts of her career.
– Seanna Johnson notched her fourth double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
– Hallie Christofferson finished with 11 points. Jadda Buckley added 11 and six assists.
– Texas Christian scored its first ever win at Hilton Coliseum.