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Ames–It was a cold way to end the season for Iowa State. A dreadful shooting performance doomed the 7th seeded Cyclones in the opening round 55-44 loss to 10th seed Florida State at Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State was held to a season low in points thanks to a persistent Florida State zone and tough luck shooting from the perimeter. Iowa State shot a woeful 25 percent from the floor and was 7-38 from three point range.
"They play zone, you are going to have to make perimeter shots. Most of the shots we got, I’d say shoot them again. That’s this tournament, you don’t make them, you go home," Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said.
Florida State had an eye popping 25 turnovers and left the door ajar for the Cyclones to make it a game, but it just was not Iowa State’s night.
"We hit these shots in practice every day. Today they just weren’t falling for us," Iowa State junior Brynn Williamson said.
The shot missing became epidemic and the irritation grew for Iowa State in front of a sterling crowd of Cyclone fans.
"It is really frustrating that we couldn’t pull it out, not for ourselves, but for these fans that have been with us all year. It sucks that we had to go out like that," Williamson said.
The Cyclones got off on the wrong foot and never recovered. Former Cyclone Emiah Bingley drilled Florida State’s opening three to take the early lead and the Seminoles didn’t look back. Iowa State started the game missing their first eight shots and trailed 14-2 five minutes into the game.
It didn’t get much better the rest of the half. Iowa State finished the half with just five field goals on 28 attempts. To make matters worse, the normally sure-handed Cyclones had 12 first half turnovers. Florida State was sloppy as well with 14 giveaways at the half, but the Seminoles still led 30-18 at the break.
It wasn’t a lack of open shots, Iowa State had a multitude of unguarded attempts that clanked off the rim or spiraled in and out.
"You don’t want to be the next one that misses or you don’t want to shoot at all. Our team is built on making shots, that’s our identity and when the ball doesn’t go in, you struggle," Fennelly said.
Iowa State dug in defensively and pulled to within seven points on three separate occasions in the second half, but could never get over the hump.
"We just couldn’t make enough consecutive plays to change the outcome. They were the better team," Fennelly said.
It was a bitter-sweet conclusion to the storied career of Cyclone senior Hallie Christofferson. She led the Cyclones with 13 points and left the floor to a standing ovation from the Hilton faithful.
"I told her I loved her and that every single person who is standing up is standing up for what she has done for her school and not for the points or rebounds," Fennelly said while fighting off emotion. "I thanked her for allowing me to be in her life for four years."
The Hamlin, Iowa native finishes her career as the sixth leading scorer in Iowa State history, leading the Cyclones to four consecutive NCAA tournaments.
"She is one in the long list of great players here. If you are an Iowa State fan, we were blessed to have her in our life. You do this job because you hope you get to be around people like that," Fennelly said.
"it is hard to wrap up four years in a few sentences. It’s been incredible," Christofferson said.
Iowa State finishes the season with a 20-11 record.