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Team Effort Helps the Cyclones Ward Off the Wildcats

Iowa State picks up a huge road victory in its Big 12 opener.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The Iowa State women knocked off the Kansas State Wildcats 84-79 on Wednesday evening at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas. With the win, Iowa State (9-3, 1-0) concluded its December with an undefeated record. The Cyclones had four players score in double figures. Seanna Johnson led Iowa State with 20 points. Jadda Buckley had 19 points, and Bridget Carleton added 17 points in her first Big 12 game. The Wildcat zone defense never appeared to give Iowa State much trouble, and Iowa State outscored Kansas State in each of the first three quarters.

Iowa State, sparked by strong defense and a few transition buckets, was able to jump to an early 8-2 lead over Kansas State. A three-point play by Johnson with under four minutes in the 1st quarter maintained the Cyclones' six-point lead. Meredith Burkhall immediately contributed points upon her entry into the game, Iowa State was able to find openings in the Kansas State zone, and the Cyclones shot 56% from the field in the first ten minutes to hold a 22-14 lead.

Despite shooting just 1-6 from three-point range in the 1st quarter, Buckley hit a trey on Iowa State's first possession of the 2nd period to extend the lead to 11 points. Iowa State started to go cold from the field midway through the quarter, and the Wildcats were able to trim the lead to just four points with 2:26 to go in the half. Buckley put through her fourth three-pointer with under a minute to play in the quarter and Iowa State led Kansas State 37-28 after 20 minutes. With her late first-half surge, Buckley led all scorers with 14 points at the break. Johnson added nine points and seven rebounds in the first half.

Buckley continued to find success in the 3rd quarter. She was able to knock down a trey and make several key passes to help Iowa State maintain its double-digit lead. Kansas State found no answer defensively in the halftime locker room, and the Cyclones continued to stay patient with its zone offense. Undoubtedly the story of the 3rd quarter, however, was Emily Durr scoring eight points in the final minute of the period. Durr's burst brought Iowa State to a 64-51 lead with just 10 minutes to play.

In the 4th quarter, the Wildcats quickly got within six points, but the Cyclones answered with four points out of a timeout to hold the home team at bay. Nearly the entire game, Iowa State had an answer every time the Wildcats tried to rally, and it seemed to be a different Cyclone player with every response. Kansas State crept to within three points under two minutes to play in the game. Iowa State had trouble rebounding the ball late and coming up with a final surge. Up just three points, Carleton drove the ball to the basket with 34 seconds to play, and, despite an apparent shift by Kansas State, an offensive foul was called on Carleton. Kansas State had an opportunity down 75-78, but the Wildcats committed an offensive foul on the inbounds. Iowa State was able to hang on and close the game out at the free throw line for the five-point victory.

The Cyclones return to Hilton Coliseum on Saturday at 2pm for the Big 12 home opener against Oklahoma State, which beat No. 4 Baylor in its first conference game.