AMES — Kidd Blaskowsky ended the first half by knocking down a 3-pointer followed by a layup with just seconds to play in the first half. That sent Iowa State into the halftime break on a 5-0 run and it was clear that momentum had shifted to the Cyclones’ side.
The Cyclones (8-2) turned that 5-0 mark into a 34-0 run, scoring the first 29 points of the second half and picked up a 90-44 win over the Howard Bison (1-12, 1-1 MEAC) on Monday night in the first round of the Cyclone Challenge.
“The first 14 minutes when it was 26-22, we played like we’d been practicing since we came back from the holiday,” said Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly. “But after that, the last four minutes of the first half, the first four minutes of the second half, we were really good.”
Howard missed its first 23 shots of the second half before scoring its first points of the period with 7:33 to go.
According to Fennelly, Iowa State’s improved defense came down to something simple.
“The term we use is attention to detail,” Fennelly said. “The attention to detail defensively, and whether it’s the personnel or the plan, was really good for about eight minutes. That was eight minutes where we were really, really good on offense, and really, really good on defense and the game just got completely out of hand in a hurry.”
The Cyclones got scoring from 11 different players and were led by freshman center Bryanna Fernstrom, who finished with 18 points.
“That’s the starting center that we are going into the Big 12 with,” Fennelly said. “And I’m trying to get her to understand what’s coming. But when you have 18 points in 20 minutes, it’s hard to complain.”
Blaskowsky, 14 points, and sophomore forward Seanna Johnson, 10 points and 10 rebounds, were the other two Cyclones to finish in double-figures scoring.
Next up for Iowa State will be the UC-Riverside Highlanders in the championship game of the Cyclone Challenge on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The game will also be the last Cyclone Challenge game ever to be played.
“We’re glad that one’s done and we’re looking forward to a good challenge tomorrow,” Fennelly said. “This tournament’s been fun. This will be the last year we do it. It’s been a great event. It’s been fun to bring these teams to our community, to bring people here. Our fans have been great. Hopefully we can end this thing the right way tomorrow.”
*** Iowa State extended its NCAA-record streak to 622 consecutive games with a 3-pointer.
*** Iowa State made a season-high 15 3-pointers, its sixth game this season with 10 threes or more.
*** Sophomore forward Seanna Johnson picked up her third double-double of the season and seventh of her career.
*** Senior guard Nikki Moody made her 100th career start.