Women's Basketball

Talented trio leads Cyclones to big win

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AMES – Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale probably didn’t sleep well Monday night.

What opponent does on the eve of playing at Hilton Coliseum?

Behind a trio of stars and its throaty faithful, Iowa State turned Tuesday’s tilt between ranked teams into another blowout on its home court. The 82-61 victory over Oklahoma vaulted the No. 24-ranked Cyclones into second place in the Big 12 behind Baylor.

“I always expect them to play really well, here especially,” Coale said. “They just love playing in this building. They are very good in this building.”

Iowa State will be tough to beat anywhere when Nikki Moody, Hallie Christofferson and Kidd Blaskowsky play like they did on Tuesday. All three made big plays when it mattered to help push the Cyclones to a 13-2 record overall and a 4-1 mark in the Big 12. It’s the first time since the 2004-05 season that Iowa State has started conference play 4-1.

“I think our team probably played our best game tonight, start to finish, especially in the second half,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said.

With Nikki Moody running the show, Christofferson and Blaskowsky knocked out Oklahoma. Moody dished out a career-high 13 assists, while Christofferson tied her career-best 24 points.

All Blaskowsky did was drill clutch 3’s when Iowa State needed them.

“We made the extra effort tonight,” Christofferson said. “That made us be in the right place at the right time.”

It didn’t take long after halftime for Iowa State to turn a 34-28 lead into a double-digit advantage. Blaskowsky started the run with a 3-pointer from the right wing. Christofferson followed with a pair of buckets, including a trey, to make it 41-30.

Moody capped the spurt with a 3-pointer of her own and suddenly a tight game became a 57-41 Cyclones rout.

“Tonight, to score 82, that’s an explosion for us,” Fennelly said.

The Sooners pulled within 10, but didn’t get any closer. Blaskowsky swished another big 3 to push the advantage back to 64-51. Minutes later, Christofferson scored inside to make it 70-54.

Besides her 24 points, Christofferson grabbed eight rebounds. Moody added 20 points to go along with her 13 assists. Blaskowsky finished with 17 points and eight rebounds.

With its offense clicking, Iowa State continued to play suffocating defense. The Sooners shot just 31.7 percent in the game and made only 9-of-31 shots from behind the arc. The Cyclones outrebounded Oklahoma 47-27.

“It’s a game I hope our kids will enjoy for a long time, something they’ll talk about for along time.” Fennelly said.

Player of the game

Nikki Moody is playing phenomenal basketball right now. Need proof? How does 20 points and a career-high 13 assists sound?

“I told her after the game, ‘That’s how Iowa State point guards play, and let’s not make it the highlight of your career,’” Fennelly said.

On Tuesday, Moody helped the Cyclones claim second place in the Big 12 by being the ultimate facilitator. Iowa State put up 82 points against the Sooners in large part because Moody made it so easy on her teammates.

Moody would consistently drive past her defender before making a nifty pass to an open Cyclone for an easy hoop. It’s what the sophomore has been doing all season.

Moody entered the game second in the country, averaging 7.6 assists per game. The Euless, Texas native has notched five or more assists in 13 of the 14 games she’s played this season.

“It’s just I have more faith in my teammates, and I trust my teammates to be where I need them to be so I can get them the ball,” Moody said.

Quick hits

–       Official attendance on Tuesday was 10,379.

–       The Cyclones have now won their last 10 homes games against Big 12 teams.

–       Cleasea Poppens tallied eight points and five rebounds in the win. Anna Prins notched six points and six rebounds.

–       Iowa State made 19 of its 22 free throw attempts on Tuesday.

–       Brynn Williamson tied a career high with 10 rebounds.

Who’s next?

The Cyclones will square off with another ranked foe on Sunday when they travel to No. 17 Oklahoma State. The Cowgirls are off to a 13-2 (2-2) with their only losses against Texas Tech and Baylor.

Toni Young and Liz Donohoe lead Oklahoma State offensively. The duo combine to score 34.4 points per game. Tiffany Bias also averages in double figures for the Cowgirls at 12.8 points per game.

Tip is set for noon on Sunday with the game airing on FSN.


Ian Smith