AMES — It was just what the doctor ordered.
The Iowa State women’s basketball team (15-7, 6-5 Big 12) had lost three straight games, including two at home, entering a date with West Virginia (14-9, 4-7 Big 12) on Saturday.
The first half was all about defense, as the Cyclones held the Mountaineers to 24.1 percent shooting and led 25-20 at the break.
The second half, well, that was all about running away. The Cyclones opened the second-20 on a 10-0 run and didn’t allow the first WVU basket of the half until there was 13:28 left in the game.
“We were out of gas and limped that thing to halftime,” Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said. “We came out the second half, ran a play for Brynn right off the bat and she sticks a three. We kind of got it going from there.”
The Cyclones would outscore WVU 36-23 in the second half on the way to a 61-43 victory.
Iowa State used a box-and-one defense on the Mountaineers’ leading scorer Bria Holmes to shut down WVU in the second half, which held West Virginia to 29.3 percent shooting for the game.
The Cyclones also stuck right with one of the conference’s best rebounding teams and were outrebounded by just one at 38-37.
“I thought our defense was really good,” Fennelly said. “Going into the game we talked about surviving on the rebounds, which we did, didn’t get killed. And keep them off the free throw line and make them shoot jumpers. Whatever gameplan you have, when it goes sort of right, you look pretty good.”
Senior guard Nikki Moody led the way offensively once again with 14 points and 10 assists, good for her fourth double-double of the season. She also turned the ball over just once.
“When you play a team like that and you get 10 assists and one turnover, that’s pretty damn good,” Fennelly said. “I think if we had found a way to beat Oklahoma she’d be player of the week in our league. 44 points, 15 assists and two turnovers, that’s not a bad week.”
The Cyclones also got double-digit scoring efforts from seniors Brynn Williamson and Fallon Ellis, 11 points each, and junior forward Seanna Johnson, 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Iowa State’s offense looked more like the one that led to two wins over Texas than the one that led to three straight losses over the last week and a half. It is something that will have to continue if the Cyclones hope to finish in the top-three of the Big 12.
But for tonight, it’s just good to break a streak.
“Proud of the win for our kids,” Fennelly said. “It’s always great to break a losing streak, especially getting started with our last eight games.”
The Cyclones get back in action Wednesday when they head to Lubbock to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders.