On Saturday, the Cyclones will take the court and face No. 3 Texas in front of over 10,000 fans in Hilton Coliseum. However, Saturday’s game will be remembered as being about much more than just squaring off with the undefeated Longhorns. It’s also about celebrating Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly’s 20th season with the Cyclones.
Earlier this season Cyclone Sidebar sat down with Fennelly and dug deep in the archives to bring back some of the most cherished memories of the early years in program history. If you haven’t read that story, we highly encourage you do so. This time we took a different spin on things to bring you some of the top wins under Fennelly.
Since this ended up being a bigger project than anticipated we are splitting this up in two posts. Here are what we think are the No. 6-10 best wins under Fennelly.
Tomorrow we will release the top five memorable wins in Cyclone history. Feel free to comment and let us know if you think we got it right.
10. Iowa State 69, No. 11 Baylor 45: Feb. 13, 2010
The stage was set for Iowa State to take on No. 11 Baylor. The Cyclones had already defeated another 11th-ranked team in Hilton Coliseum when they handled Oklahoma, 63-56, just a few games prior.
This time, the game was being broadcast on FSN with many eyes on Baylor’s star freshman, Brittney Griner, who was 6-8 and had six Big 12 Freshman of the Week honors to her name already.
By the end of the contest, viewers and fans weren’t talking about Baylor’s freshman sensation, it would be the Iowa State Cyclones.
At the half, Iowa State built a 20-point lead over the Lady Bears, 38-18. Alison Lacey already had eight points and eight assists as Iowa State shot 42.5 percent from the field. In the first half, Baylor got well acquainted with the Cyclones top weapon: the 3-point shot. Iowa State netted an incredible 10 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes.
The Cyclone defense also limited Griner to just four points and four rebounds, while Cyclone 6-foot-7 freshman Anna Prins had 10 points in the opening period.
The second half was much of the same as Iowa State dominated the Lady Bears, grabbing as much as a 31-point lead with 7:01 remaining. The win was truly a bittersweet moment for the Cylcone faithful.
9. Iowa State 66, No. 15 Kansas State 65 OT (Big 12 Championship Semifinal): March 12, 2008
The Big 12 semifinal game against Kansas State was the definition of a back-and-forth affair. With two teams refusing to lose, it would go down as one of the most memorable games, not just in Iowa State history, but in Big 12 Championship history.
With the game tied at 51-51 with :36 seconds remaining in regulation, Kansas State’s Shalee Lehning made a jumper to put K-State up by two, 53-51. After a series of misses by the Cyclones, Amanda Nisleit grabbed a crucial defensive rebound with :07 seconds left as ISU called timeout.
Alison Lacey missed a 3-pointer from the corner after the timeout, but Jocelyn Anderson came through for Iowa State with a rebound and putback to send the game into overtime.
Overtime had no shortage of excitement as Iowa State found itself down by two with :10 seconds remaining. Lacey netted a jumper for the tie, but Lacey was fouled by Lehning with :03 seconds on the game clock. Iowa State would grab a one-point lead (66-65) with Lacey’s and-1, its first advantage of the overtime period.
Lehning would get the last shot off just prior to the buzzer as the ball would circle the rim an incredible three times before rimming out and sealing the Iowa State victory.
This Big 12 semfinal game had no shortage of clutch plays by both teams, but what made this game special was the electrifying way in which it ended.
8. Iowa State 101, Iowa 94: Dec. 3, 2003
Under Fennelly, the Cyclones were undefeated against the Hawkeyes in Hilton Coliseum. In fact, that stat still holds true today, but the closest any Iowa team has come to defeating the Cyclones in Hilton Coliseum was easily in 2003 when Iowa State went to its first double overtime game under Fennelly.
But in all fairness, what could be better than beating Iowa in overtime? Well, maybe beating them in double overtime.
It’s hard enough to pour your heart onto the court for 40 minutes, but try doing it for 50. Honestly, this game could be a little higher on this list just for that fact alone.
In any case, this double-overtime thriller was full of action and excitement. It was the Cyclones that controlled the game through regulation, maintaining a sizeable lead, but a 7-0 run in the closing minutes by Iowa tied the game up at 70 apiece with 2:05 to play. The game would close with a 75-75 tie and the Cyclone and Hawkeyes were headed to their first overtime game in the series history.
In the first overtime, it was the Cyclones who were trailing for a change. With Iowa leading 85-83 with :12 seconds left the Cyclones needed another clutch play. It was Lynsdey Medders who would deliver with a fast break two-pointer off an assist from Erica Junod. Iowa would fire off three shots in the final seconds, but were unable to get a game winner.
A quick glance at the play-by-play and you can tell the next five minutes was all about the Cyclones. Iowa State would outscore Iowa 16-9 in double overtime to get the win over Iowa. Lyndsey Medders (21) and Erica Junod (20) would each close out the game with 20-point performances.
7. Iowa State 82, No. 5 Texas Tech 73: Jan. 20, 1998
Fans of Iowa State women’s basketball tend to remember this game as the blizzard game. Iowa State’s attendance had been climbing recently, but an incoming blizzard threatened to spoil the Cyclones’ date with fifth-ranked Texas Tech. Hilton Coliseum had already gotten its first top-10 win when Iowa State downed No. 9 Texas the year before, but over 3,000 members of the growing Iowa State faithful braved the Iowa weather to see this Cyclone team tackle the fifth-ranked Lady Raiders.
The starting lineup for the contest would feature some popular names in Cyclone history with Megan Taylor, Janel Grimm, Jayme Olson, Stacy Frese and Amanda Bartz. Iowa State would only go seven-deep in the contest with Erica Haugen and Monica Huelman coming off the bench.
It was an evenly contested game from the start, with neither team mounting much of a lead. The Lady Raiders and Cyclones would enter the locker room with the score at 35-33 in favor of the Lady Raiders.
In the second half, the Cyclones would trail by as many as nine, 40-49, at the 14:19 mark. Slowly, but surely the Cyclones would close the gap from that point on.
With 3:55 left in the game, Taylor would put Iowa State up for good with a steal and layup (72-71). Iowa State would close the books on the Lady Raiders, finishing the game on a 12-2 run. The win would mark the programs first win over a top-5 team.
6. No. 13 Iowa State 68, No. 7 Oklahoma 65 (Big 12 Championship Final): March 10, 2001
Iowa State made its way back to the Big 12 Tournament final for the second time in as many years. However, instead of facing the Texas Longhorns like in 2000, this time it was the Oklahoma Sooners.
Iowa State was in the presence of a favorable crowd in Kansas City, Mo. as many Cyclone fans remained after watching the men’s basketball team fall to Baylor on Friday in the quarterfinals.
At the start of the 2001 Big 12 tournament final, it didn’t look like the Sooners were going to put up much of a fight. They missed 14 of their first 15 field goals and didn’t knock down a field goal until nearly eight minutes into the game. However a rally by the Sooners would close the gap to just five points (28-23) at the half.
With 6.7 seconds on the clock, Megan Taylor deflected an inbounds pass off of Oklahoma’s Stacy Dales’ leg awarding Iowa State the ball. ISU would win the game, 68-65.
The true star of the game was the senior Taylor, who broke Iowa State’s career scoring record in her 28-point outing. Her 28 points and six 3-pointers were both Big 12 title game records. Her 3-point record is still standing to this day.
Her clutch play and big performance paved the way for a second Big 12 tournament title banner to go up at Hilton Coliseum.
Tune in tomorrow as we unveil five more memorable games over the last 20 years.