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AMES – Don’t bother with the stats. Just listen.
What does Hallie Christofferson mean to Iowa State? Let Bill Fennelly try and explain.
“You look at a kid that’s meant so much for this university, not just this team,” Fennelly said. “Like she said, you talk about a small-town, 1A kid, that comes from Exira, Iowa and probably the first class she sat in at Iowa State was bigger than her hometown. The way she adapted, the way she fit in, the connections she made on the court, off the court, it was special."
During her four years in Ames, Christofferson’s exemplified what Fennelly likes to call the “Iowa State way.” Doing the little things on and off the court has turned Christofferson into a potential all-American.
“This job can really suck at times, to be honest with you,” Fennelly said. “But when you see someone like Hallie and you are around her everyday, I’ve got the best job in America. Those kind of people make you feel good about young people, make you feel good about your future, make you feel good about everything.”
Yes, senior night didn’t go as planned against Baylor, but Christofferson and her teammates fought all game against the supremely talented Bears before falling 70-54.
Iowa State finished the regular season 20-9 and 9-9 in the Big 12.
“That’s a great team,” Fennelly said. “We had to gamble defensively and open up the court a little bit. When you play a team like this, you have to have people do things above and beyond. We certainly didn’t get that tonight.
The Bears led by as many as 13 points in the first half, but the Cyclones clawed back. Christofferson – who battled foul trouble all game – scored inside to cut the deficit to 31-26.
Minutes later, Nikki Moody rattled home consecutive 3-pointers to make it 37-32. Moody outplayed her counterpart, Odyssey Sims, on Tuesday, scoring 17 points to Sims’ 10. The Baylor point guard entered the contest averaging 30 points per game.
With Sims bottled up, Nina Davis took over for the Bears. The freshman tallied 26 points on Tuesday, continually answering every Iowa State challenge.
Davis’ jumper from the short corner pushed Baylor ahead 55-42, effectively ending any chance of a comeback against the stout Bears defense.
“(Davis) is a very good freshman,” Christofferson said. “Her motor is always running.”
Christofferson tallied 14 points for the Cyclones. Seanna Johnson notched nine points and 11 rebounds.
“Our effort was better today,” Christofferson said. “We were just trying to play with one another and play for one another.”
Even with Tuesday’s result, Iowa State pushes toward the tournament season with momentum on its side. After losing to Baylor by 38 on Feb. 19, the Cyclones responded with three-straight victories to clinch their eighth trip to the NCAA Tournament in a row.
In perhaps Iowa State’s most impressive win of the season, the Cyclones went on the road and beat up then No. 15 Oklahoma State on Feb. 26, 86-69.
Iowa State will need to be ready for a rematch. With the brutal Big 12 slate behind them, the Cyclones will play in the Big 12 Tournament on Saturday at 11 a.m. against the Cowgirls.
Bill Fennnelly’s full quote when asked what Christofferson has meant to this team
"You look at a kid that’s meant so much for this university, not just this team. Like she said, you talk about a small-town, 1A kid, that comes from Exira, Iowa and probably the first class she sat in at Iowa State was bigger than her hometown. The way she adapted, the way she fit in, the connections she made on the court, off the court, it was special.
We all have our favorites, and our fans have their favorites. But when the best players, people, impactful personalities are discussed in women’s basketball, at least in the 19 years I’ve been here, Hallie Christofferson’s name is going to be on that list.
This job can really suck at times, to be honest with you. But when you see someone like Hallie and you are around her everyday, I’ve got the best job in America. Those kind of people make you feel good about young people, make you feel good about your future, make you feel good about everything. There’s not many like that anymore. Everybody thinks there all like that. No there not. No there not. Hallie’s rare and we are very lucky. All those fans that listened to her talk are lucky. This university is lucky because people like that don’t come around that often anymore. It’s been honor to be around her for four years. Hopefully we have a few more games left."
Hallie Christofferson during her senior speech
"To Coach Fennelly – thanks for believing a little Class 1A player could make it in the Big 12. I’ll forever strive to live life in the Iowa State way."
– Brynn Williamson hits three 3-pointers and finished with nine points.
– Official attendance was 10,539.
– Baylor clinched a share of the Big 12 title with the win. The Bears finished tied with West Virginia for first.
– Iowa State finished with 20 wins for the 13thtime in program history.
– Nikki Moody finished in double figures for the 17th time this season.
– Seniors Elly Arganbright and Ashley Hagedorn both got the start on Tuesday.