Lacey's clutch scoring pushes Cyclones past Kansas
The Iowa State women’s basketball team needed only a few points down the stretch today, and Alison Lacey made sure the Cyclones got them.
The sophomore point guard scored 11 consecutive Iowa State points during a 9-minute span of the second half as the Cyclones held off Kansas 51-42.
The Cyclones (18-10, 7-8 Big 12 Conference) started the second half with a 15-3 spurt, going up 35-21 after a Lacey 14-footer with 11:04 to play.
Kansas began inching closer as its overplaying defense forced Iowa State into some turnovers and difficult shots. But when Iowa State needed a spark, Lacey provided it, first with a 3-pointer after the lead was whittled to 35-28, then with another when the lead was eight points.
Then, with the Cyclones clinging to a 41-36 lead, Lacey scored on a driving three-point play as the shot clock was about to expire to nudge the lead back to eight with 4:14 to play before an announced crowd of 11,824 at Hilton Coliseum.
“The three-point play she made with the shot clock winding down was probably the biggest play of this game,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “We were on the ropes and wobbling pretty bad, and that was a great individual effort. She’s a skilled kid and knows how to win games.”
Lacey, whose 3-pointer put Iowa State ahead for good in Wednesday’s 58-54 victory at Missouri, led all scorers with 19 points, making 5-of-8 shots and 7-of-9 free throws.
“We felt them coming back,” Lacey said. “They had some good defense. It was hard to get a shot off. Everyone took a breath and relaxed a little bit. We knew we had to hold them.”
Center Jocelyn Anderson, who was scoreless in the first half, posted up for four baskets to start the second half and finished with eight points. Kelsey Bolte had 11 points, nine in the second half.
It was a game where Iowa State pieced together enough scoring to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive going into Wednesday’s regular-season finale at Nebraska.
To even get on the NCAA bubble has been a battle since losing center Nicky Wieben and forward Toccara Ross to knee injuries.
“We’ve been sitting on the bubble since we were at Texas (on Jan. 16) and Nicky Wieben got hurt,” Fennelly said. “The discussion on March 1 that this team is possibly going to contend for the NCAA Tournament is one of the greatest stories we’ve ever had here. It has nothing to do with me, it has to do with the young people on this team.”
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