AMES - The Iowa State women's basketball team passed its last final of the semester with flying colors, earning a 58-42 win over Minnesota Sunday afternoon at Hilton Coliseum. With the win, Iowa State improved to 8-2 and 4-0 at home.
The Cyclone defense forced 26 Golden Gopher miscues, the most turnovers by an Iowa State opponent in over eight seasons. Iowa State also held Minnesota to a season-low 42 points, after UM entered the game averaging 75.2 points. ISU also outrebounded Minnesota, 39-32, with 18 of the Cyclones' boards coming off the offensive glass.
Kelsey Bolte and Amanda Nisleit led Iowa State in scoring with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Bolte also led ISU in rebounding with seven. Heather Ezell passed out five assists. Emily Fox led Minnesota with 19 points, but the Cyclones held UM's leading scorer, Katie Ohm, to four points and shut her out from beyond the arc, despite her entering the game averaging nearly four three-pointers per contest.
"I think this is a very important win for our team," Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said. "I think it was a game to challenge our players to find another level. I was very pleased with Kelsey Bolte's performance. I think it is a direct reflection of how she has been practicing."
Iowa State showed no sign of a finals hangover, coming out hot from the beginning. Bolte hit three of her first four shots, including a pair of three-pointers, to give the Cyclones a 10-4 advantage. Minnesota tied the game at 10-all, but ISU responded with a 14-2 run, capped by a Nisleit three-pointer for a 24-12 lead with just under 10 minutes to play in the half.
Fox hit a trey for the Gophers before Iowa State scored 14 unanswered points, including five from freshman Whitney Williams, for a 38-15 ISU lead. Ezell hit a pair of free throws to give Iowa State a 40-17 advantage at the break.
The Cyclones went to the line 14 times, hitting 11 free throws in the first half. Iowa State shot 40.4 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc, draining five three-pointers. Minnesota was out of sync the first 20 minutes, shooting 30.4 percent from the field and committing 13 turnovers.
After taking a 45-23 lead to start the second half off a three-pointer by Nisleit, Minnesota responded with a 10-0 run to cut the margin, 45-33, the closest UM would get the rest of the way. Bolte knocked down a three-pointer and Alison Lacey got back-to-back field goals to extend the Cyclone lead back to 19, 52-33.
The Cyclones will take a seven-day break before returning to the court Dec. 29 for the American Family Insurance Cyclone Challenge.