FSU fights off frigid ’Clones
AMES – They were the same shots the Cyclones make in practice daily.
And the kind of looks Bill Fennelly hoped his team would find.
But if you don’t make the most of those opportunities in March, the rest is irrelevant.
Shooting just 18 percent (7-of-38) from 3-point range and a season-low 25 percent overall, the seventh-seeded Iowa State women’s basketball team never found its stroke in a 55-44 loss to Florida State in the first round of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament at Hilton Coliseum Saturday.
“If you look at the percentages we shot today, those aren’t a reflection of our team. We hit these shots in practice everyday,” Brynn Williamson said. “Credit due to Florida State, they had people step up and knock down those shots. We have shooters on our team that have to be able to hit those shots in a game, especially in crucial situations like that.”
Tenth-seeded Florida State (21-11) came in shooting 29-percent from deep but made its first four attempts as former Cyclone Emiah Bingley got things started before Lauren Coleman connected on three straight. The fast start opened a 14-2 lead for the Seminoles five minutes in as ISU (20-11) could never climb out of its early deficit.
The Seminoles didn’t make another triple the rest of the way but finished 45 percent from the field, while outscoring the Cyclones 30-14 in the paint. Natasha Howard tallied 10 points and 13 rebounds to become FSU’s all-time leading rebounder, while Cheetah Delgado added 10 points and six assists. Ivey Slaughter grabbed 13 boards as FSU earned a 44-30 advantage on the glass to overcome 25 turnovers.
Iowa State started 1 of 16 from the field but eventually whittled the deficit to six after back-to-back treys by Williamson with 2:39 in the half. Delgado scored six quick points as FSU closed on an 8-2 run to lead 30-18 at the break. The Seminoles started fast again in the second and claimed their largest lead at 38-23 after three straight baskets by Brittany Brown.
ISU answered with a 12-4 run capped by Christofferson’s layup at 42-35 with 8:03 remaining, but the Cyclones couldn’t get any closer.
Iowa State pulled within seven again with Jadda Buckley’s layup cutting the lead to 46-39 with just less than 3 minutes to go but the freshman was called for a charge on the ensuing play as the Cyclones turned it over on two straight possessions. ISU finished with 19 turnovers in the game.
Buckley bridged the gap to 51-44 with 42 seconds left but the Seminoles made their final four attempts from the line to close it out.
“Iowa State does so many nice things but they don’t play against a zone as much as most teams,” FSU coach Sue Semrau said. “We couldn’t just match up and hope to beat them.”
The Seminoles used their length and physicality to bother the Cyclones early and often as ISU shot just 18 percent en route to its lowest-scoring half of the season. Things didn’t get much better in the second as Iowa State finished with its lowest point total of the year.
“That’s this tournament – you don’t make them, you go home,” ISU coach Bill Fennelly said of his team’s shooting struggles. “We just couldn’t make enough consecutive plays at either end of the floor to change the outcome. They were a better team than us today. They were better coached then us today and you can’t take anything away from them.”
Christofferson led the Cyclones with 13 points in her final game as a Cyclone and left to a standing ovation in the final minute. Williamson scored all 12 of her points beyond the arc and Buckley added 10, while Seanna Johnson grabbed a team-high nine boards.
Fennelly shared a hug and some words with Christofferson as she left the floor at Hilton Coliseum one last time.
“I thanked her for being the kind of person to wear the Iowa State jersey the right way,” Fennelly said. “I thanked her for being in my life for four years. If you are an Iowa State fan, we are blessed to have her in our life. You do this job because you hope you get to be around people like that every so often, I was very lucky.”
Second-seeded Stanford (30-3) defeated No. 15 South Dakota 81-62 and will face the Seminoles Monday at 5:30 p.m. … Howard has 1,043 career rebounds, surpassing Cherry Rivers (1976-80). … Christofferson moved to seventh all-time at ISU with 562 field goals and reached 1,700 points in her career. FSU outscored the Cyclones 10-2 in fast break points and 15-4 in points off the bench.