AMES, Iowa - For the second straight year, the Iowa State women's basketball team knocked off Oklahoma State by hitting free throws down the stretch. The Cyclones hit 10 consecutive shots from the charity stripe with under two minutes remaining to defeat 21st-ranked Oklahoma State 63-55 to open Big 12 Conference play Saturday at Hilton Coliseum.
The Cyclones (13-2; 1-0) fought back from an 11-point halftime deficit and struggled offensively throughout the game. Iowa State used defense and rebounding to make up the difference. Iowa State shot just 34.6 from the field and was 4-for-21 from beyond the arc. But ISU posted a 46-30 rebounding advantage and outscored OSU, 15-7, on second-chance points. Oklahoma State (11-3; 0-1) shot 37.1 percent form the field and 21.4 percent from long range.
The Cyclone post players were the bright spot of the game. Nicky Wieben led ISU with 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Amanda Nisleit recorded her second career double-double with 12 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. Andrea Riley led Oklahoma State with 32 points on 13-of-28 shooting.
"I'm certainly proud of our team to come back from 11 down and to find a way to win," ISU head coach Bill Fennelly said. "I'm very proud of Nicky Wieben and Amanda Nisleit especially. For those of you who have been to practice recently, coach Fennelly hasn't been real complimentary or nice to the post players, and they won the game. They did a great job."
The Cyclones started off hot, going to Wieben for their first 12 points, opening a 12-6 lead over the first four minutes. Wieben went 6-for-6 from the field to start the game. The Cowgirls answered with six straight points to tie the game at 12-all. The teams traded baskets and Kelsey Bolte hit a field goal with 7:28 to go in the half to cut the Cowgirl lead to one, 21-20.
From there, the Cowgirls took control, going on an 11-1 run the rest of the way for a 32-21 halftime score. Riley scored six points in that run and ISU's only point came on a free throw by Alexis Yackley.
Iowa State shot just 37 percent from the field and went 0-for-10 from three-point range, while Oklahoma State hit 45.2 percent from the field and hit two treys over the first 20 minutes. Wieben had 14 at the break and Riley scored 20 for the Cowgirls.
Iowa State scored eight straight out of the break, capped by a Yackley three-pointer to cut the Cowgirl lead to three, 32-29. Riley hit a pair of free throws and a fast break lay-up to stretch the lead back to seven, 36-29. Oklahoma State got in quick foul trouble, picking up its seventh team foul with more than 13 minutes to play. Nisleit hit four consecutive free throws to trim the margin back to three (36-33).
Nisleit hit a three, Wieben scored and Bolte knocked down another trey around an OSU basket to give Iowa State its first lead of the second half, 41-40. With 6:35 to go in the contest, Oklahoma State committed its 10th team foul of the half, and sent Nisleit to the line, where she hit one free throw to tie the game (44-44).
Heather Ezell hit her only field goal of the game as she knocked down a three-pointer with just under two minutes to go to give Iowa State a 53-50 lead. The Cowgirls were called for an intentional foul and OSU head coach Kurt Budke followed with a technical foul, sending ISU to the line for four free throws. Alison Lacey hit a pair and then Ezell stepped to the line and hit two more, making the game a three-possession contest (57-50) with 1:24 to go. The Cyclones continued to knock down free throws to hold the Cowgirls at bay.
Iowa State will finally hit the road after spending the last month at home. The Cyclones will travel to fifth-ranked Baylor Wednesday for a 7 p.m. game in Waco.