West Virginia women rally past home-court Cyclones

AMES – West Virginia forced Iowa State into turnovers on its last three possessions and the Mountaineers scored the last six points to pass up the No. 24-ranked Cyclones for a 68-66 victory Sunday in Big 12 women’s basketball play.

West Virginia (15-10, 7-7) snapped Iowa State’s four-game win streak, sparked by Bria Holmes’ career-high 18 points coming off the bench. The outcome also spoiled Iowa State’s celebration of Hallie Christofferson becoming the program’s 25th player to reach 1,000 points after she matched her career best with a game-high 27.

The Cyclones (18-6, 9-5) led 66-62 when Ayana Dunning netted a layup with 2:38 remaining, and Averee Fields converted 1-of-2 free-throws after stealing the ball from ISU point guard Nikki Moody with 48 seconds left.

Moody was then called for traveling on Iowa State’s next possession, and Fields scored a layup to put the Mountaineers on top, 67-66. Taylor Palmer then drew a charge on Moody in the lane, and Brooke Hampton hit 1-of-2 free throws to bring the score to its final.

Jess Harlee stole Iowa State’s inbounds pass to seal the win for West Virginia, its third against ranked teams this season.

“We had to make it ugly because we weren’t scoring, so we had to have more quickness and try to get some traps and turnovers,” said Mountaineers coach Mike Carey.

West Virginia was limited to just 22 points in the first half, matching the year’s low in the Big 12 Conference. Iowa State led by five at the break after being ahead by as many as 11 in the first half.

Dunning contributed 13 points for West Virginia, which got scoring from nine different players.

Christofferson shot 9-for-12 from the field and 8-of-11 at the line while playing a team-high 39 minutes, notching at least 20 points for the third game in a row.

Nikki Moody added 14 points but had eight of the Cyclones’ 21 turnovers. Chelsea Poppens had 10 points and team-highs of seven rebounds and two blocked shots.

Iowa State used just seven players, with Poppens and Anna Prins both fouling out.

The Cyclones are off until Saturday, when they go on the road to face Kansas State in a 2 p.m. game to be televised by Fox College Sports Central.