AMES - Iowa State no longer is unbeaten in women's basketball because the Cyclones finally got themselves in a hole from which they couldn't escape.
They had flirted with losing in two previous games before rallying to beat Auburn and San Diego at a tournament in San Diego. Against Kansas State, their rally fell short.
Kansas State beat No. 4 Iowa State 69-63 in Wednesday night's Big 12 opener, snapping the Cyclones' 26-game winning streak at home.
"It's kind of poetic justice," Iowa State center Angie Welle said. "I feel like we've been trying to hold on for so long. Every time we win, it's whew, that was close.
"Now we're on the other end. It caught up with us."
Did it ever.
The loss came only two days after Iowa State had achieved the highest national ranking in school history. It also ended the Cyclones' hopes of going 13-0 for the first time.
There's no time for the Cyclones to feel sorry for themselves, however, because they'll be facing one tough game after another in the Big 12.
Nebraska and its outstanding freshman, Katie Robinette, will visit Hilton Coliseum on Saturday. The Cyclones go on the road next week to play No. 21 Texas and Texas A&M, then return home for games with No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 9 Texas Tech.
Nor is this a time for coach Bill Fennelly to make a lot of changes just because the Cyclones lost. He knows why it happened: the Cyclones shot only 33.9 percent.
"We lost because the ball didn't go in the basket," Fennelly said "I'm disappointed for our kids and for our fans. But if you tell me we're going to turn the ball over 13 times, we're going to outrebound the other guy by seven, we're going to hold them to 69 points, I'll take that right now because we're not going to shoot 33 percent every game."
The game did show that Fennelly will have to continue his season-long search for scoring from someone other than the big three of Welle, Lindsey Wilson and Tracy Gahan.
They combined for 52 of Iowa State's 63 points Wednesday night. Reserve Melanie Bremer scored the remaining 11. Starter Mary Cofield failed to score while playing 25 minutes. Reserve Tracy Paustian was scoreless in 18 minutes but did have five assists.
Kansas State, which starts three freshmen and a sophomore, has been looking for national recognition and now has a chance to get it, especially if the Wildcats could beat No. 7 Baylor at home today.
Kansas State has not been ranked since the 1983-84 season.
"I think we played at the level we're capable of playing at," Kansas State coach Deb Patterson said. "I was impressed with their ability to maintain focus and step up and remain consistent on both ends of the floor."