A season ago, Bill Fennelly’s Cyclone women’s basketball team lost to Iowa by a score of 66-46 in Iowa City. Alison Lacey didn’t forget about that contest.
Lacey recorded a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists to lead Iowa State past the rival Iowa Hawkeyes 85-66 on Thursday night.
“I wasn’t here for the Lafester Rhodes game but I think that Alison Lacey had one of those games where if you’re a women’s basketball fan, you’ll remember forever,” Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said after the game.
It’s not surprising that Lacey had the type of game that she did. The Australian native had a bit of an “eye of the tiger” sound to her voice during postgame interviews. She had redemption on her mind.
“In all of the years I played here, this was the most excited I’ve been and the most nervous. Last year’s game was always in the back of my mind,” Lacey told members of the media after the game. “We lost to Iowa by 20. You don’t forget games like that. We had articles from that up in our locker room.”
Lacey’s triple-double was only the second in Iowa State history. Jane Lobenstein had one against Kansas on Feb. 5, 1986.
Lacey wasn’t the only Cyclone to have a huge night in Hilton. Kelsey Bolte had a career night scoring 26 points, while going 8-of-13 from 3-point range.
“We were pushing it really well in transition. That was basically where I got all of my open looks,” Bolte said. “I was surprised that I was open that many times. I was in the zone. I was in the zone all of the way to the basket. We were all just fired up and ready to go.”
16 Iowa State 3-pointers in the win
The Cyclones knocked down 16 3-pointers as a team in the victory. Though impressed with his team’s efforts, Fennelly didn’t seem at all surprised with that stat after the game.
“I used to work at Notre Dame. We used to call it 3-point Jesus, not Touchdown Jesus,” Fennelly joked with reporters after the game. “That’s part of our identity and it is not going to change. It’s just the way that we play. We work on it a ton.”
Along with Bolte’s eight, Whitney Williams went 4-of-5 from behind the arc. Lacey hit two treys while Chassidy Cole had a pair as well.
Iowa State hit 17 3-pointers in their win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Sunday. Thursday was the fifth time this season where the Cyclones have hit at least 10 shots from long range. The Cyclones have knocked down at least one 3-pointer in 457 consecutive games. That statistic ranks the program second nationally.
Now that was an entertaining display of basketball Fanatics. After the game, Bill Fennelly talked with reporters about how since there is generally no dunking in the women’s game and that 3-point shots make it just as exciting.
He’s right. Cyclone women’s basketball is as electrifying of a brand of basketball that you’ll find anywhere in the country. The crowd feeds off of the team. The team feeds off of the coach. And Fennelly? Fennelly feeds off all of the above.
I’ve written this a handful of times since I started covering Cyclone athletics and I truly mean it. Watching Bill Fennelly coach is almost as entertaining as the game itself and that’s no disrespect to the players on the floor. The guy just entertains me. Whether if it’s in a weekly press conference, talking to him on a personal level or watching him coach. He is one compelling guy.
Onto the game…I can’t figure out why Iowa kept playing a zone against this Cyclone team. Zoning teams like Iowa State’s is something you just don’t do.
“I was surprised sometimes when they were in a zone. We aren’t used to people playing us in zones,” Lacey said.
I just don’t understand that. If you don’t match-up with another team, fine. But come on! You can’t just give a player like Kelsey Bolte that many open shots. That decision was truly a head scratcher but I’m sure that Lisa Bluder had her reasons. After the game Fennelly said that he halfway expected the Hawkeyes to play a little zone.
Other thoughts? Denae Stuckey hustles as much as any player I’ve ever seen put on a Cyclone uniform. She’s constantly diving for loose balls, flying out of bounds or just flat out being a nuisance to the opposition. Stuckey didn’t score a point against the Hawkeyes, but in her 30 minutes of play, she was a major contributor.
– Bill Fennelly is now 10-4 against Iowa and 7-0 against the Hawkeyes in Ames.
– Iowa still leads this series 21-19.
– The Cyclones have taken four of the last five in the series.
– The Cyclones have won 44 consecutive non-conference regular season games in Hilton Coliseum. Fennelly’s record at Hilton against regular season non-conference opponents is an impressive 89-3.
The Cyclones will go on the road Sunday to take on Minnesota, another Big Ten team. The game will tip at 3:30 p.m. and you can watch it on the Big Ten Network.