No. 9 Iowa State moved 3-0 in the conference with a 74-48 victory Wednesday evening over at Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones were led by senior Hallie Christofferson's 22 points, but it might have been the defense of junior Brynn Williamson that made the difference in the game.
Heading into the game, the Texas Tech Lady Raiders (6-8, 0-3) were led by junior guard Amber Battle's 18.2 points per game, which is good for third-best in the league. Battles' 8.9 rebounds per game average was also tops in the league.
If the Lady Red Raiders were going to pull the huge upset, Battle would need to be big. So how'd she do?
4-for-13 from the field, eight points, four rebounds, thanks to Williamson.
"Every game Brynn typically gets the other team's best player," ISU coach Bill Fennelly said afterward. "She's long and takes great pride in the way that she defends. She's a real solid lock down defender, because of her length sometimes that bothers people. Because they play so many kids we decided to focus our defense on guarding [Battle] and doing the best job we can. Brynn and her teammates were really good tonight."
The Lady Raiders came into the night 0-2 in the conference playing the same two teams the Cyclones defeated last week in and OU and TCU, losing by an average of 20.5 points. Tech is also in the bottom third in most every statistical category in the Big 12 this season, but it's a rebuilding year as head coach Candi Whitaker is in her first year leading the program.
Iowa State's 14-game winning streak is the longest in school history.
"Candi will do a great job at Tech," Fennelly said. "We'd all be in that position. They did some things early like switching defenses that we didn't anticipate or handle very well."
The Cyclones started the game sluggish, turning the ball over, fouling on defense, and unable to find their shot, however an 18-2 run during the last eight minutes of the first half blew the game open, during which Christofferson scored 17 points. Tech as a team only had 16 at intermission.
"During that stretch we got some stops on defense that led to our offense," Christofferson said.
"Iowa State is difficult to guard because they run 5 guards on the floor, Whitaker said. "For our post player, it's extremely difficult; they are very skilled and deadly from three. They are smart players, and find the open people. Hallie had a great first half and I don't think we did a good job on her."
"I thought for 14 minutes, literally [Christofferson] was playing by herself in the first half," Fennelly said. "She wasn't getting a lot of help. She didn't come out of the game in the first half. She was getting beat up pretty good down low but was hunting her shot and didn't panic. I felt like some of the other kids kind of panicked a little bit. In the first half she had no help, and I think even outscored them in the first half."
Up next for the Cyclones is a matchup of two top 15 teams as No. 15 Oklahoma State (13-1, 2-1) comes to Hilton this Saturday. Iowa State defeated OSU in both games last season by an average of 9.5 points. However this season the Cowboys are leading the league in scoring defense, only giving up at average of 53.1 points per game.