Reliving The Magic: A Look Inside One Of The Biggest Wins In School History

On Sat. Jan. 10, the 2014-15 Iowa State women’s basketball team pulled off one of the greatest upsets in school history. Many of you either witnessed the game in person, saw the highlights, the photos, the articles, but that game had so many moving story lines it’s hard to fully grasp what really happened in Hilton Coliseum on that cold January morning. So here’s an in depth look Cyclone Nation.

Team Celebration

Do you believe in magic? Most people would say, “No,” but if you’re an Iowa State fan you would likely reply with a definitive, “Yes.”

On Saturday, Jan. 10, 7,928 Iowa State fans witnessed Hilton Magic in person as the Iowa State women’s basketball team knocked off No. 3 Texas in one of the biggest upsets in Iowa State women’s basketball history.

There are more storylines in this game than anyone could imagine prompting head coach Bill Fennelly to joke that if you wrote down what happened in Hilton Coliseum and took it to Hollywood they would laugh. But it did happen. The Cyclones defeated the Texas Longhorns, handing them their first loss of the season.

Iowa State’s match up with Texas was emotional, physical — and a little magical.

Down by 18 in the first half, the Cyclones worried things could slip away against a powerful Longhorn squad. However, lingering in the back of their minds was the events of Wednesday night, where ISU saw a 24-point lead of their own erased in Fort Worth, Texas against the Horned Frogs.

At halftime, Fennelly challenged the team to play hard, keep battling and force the Longhorns to be the ones to take the first timeout. After starting the second half with a 5-0 run, 37-29, UT head coach Karen Aston signaled for a timeout.

Iowa State would continue to take it to the Longhorns and would close the gap to six, 33-39, by the under-16 timeout. During the timeout, 18 former women’s basketball alumnae stepped onto the court to be introduced to the fans. Behind roars from the crowd, Bill Fennelly broke away from the huddle to hug his former players who came to honor their former coach’s 20th season. Those same players Fennelly often credits for helping make the program what it is today.

During the timeout, Fennelly also reminded the players of what he had been challenging them all day – to do something special to make these fans remember them.

With a new sense of energy, the team retook he court and poured their hearts onto the hardwood. With 10:57 on the clock, Iowa State grabbed a 50-47 lead off a 3-pointer from Kidd Blaskowsky. Soon the 3-point lead turned into a seven-point Iowa State lead, 57-50, with 8:10 remaining.

Texas would tie the game after a series of baskets and a free-throw by Nneka Enemkpali, 57-57. With 0:19 ticks on the clock, Nikki Moody drove down the lane and dished perhaps one of the biggest assists of her career as she found Seanna Johnson, who netted a layup to give ISU a 59-57 lead.

The next 0:19 seconds would feel like an eternity as three Longhorns would fire off shots: first a 3-point miss by Brooke McCarty, the second a jumper by Brady Sanders, and finally after scrambling for a rebound, Enemkpali would get the best look with a layup attempt as time expired. The shot would bounce off the bottom of the rim, sealing the Iowa State victory.

The win was the Cyclones’ first over a top-five opponent since Jan. 14, 2004 when ISU took down Texas Tech, 64-63, in Hilton Coliseum.

In one of the most emotional games in all of college basketball so far this season, the Cyclones came away with a hard-fought victory.

No story could really ever do this game justice. You can’t accurately write about the feeling and emotion that went into Saturday’s showdown with the Longhorns, but that’s what memories are for.

Tonight, Iowa State has the chance to make history as it takes on the new AP No. 3, the Baylor Lady Bears. Iowa State is the only team in the country to face two top-three teams in back-to-back games.

But until then, this team is going to enjoy that win on Saturday.

Here are some of the best moments and quotes from ISU’s win over Texas:

Kidd Blaskowsky

Junior guard Kidd Blaskowsky begins to celebrate as Iowa State mounts its comeback.

Hilton Crowd

This Cyclone crowd was incredible as they cheered Iowa State to victory.

Game-Winner

Nikki Moody dishes one of the biggest assists of her career to Seanna Johnson for the go-ahead layup to defeat Texas.

Emily Durr

Iowa State freshman Emily Durr celebrates Johnson’s layup.

Brynn Williamson

After the win, this shot of Brynn Williamson show off her Iowa State jersey to the crowd was plastered on the front of ESPNW.

Locker Room

After the game, the Cyclones patiently waited in the locker room ready to surprise Fennelly when he came in.

Locker Room Celebration

After the game, the Cyclones patiently waited in the locker room ready to surprise Fennelly when he came in.

Jamie Pollard

Jamie Pollard spoke with the team in the locker room after the game and asked the team “How do you top special? That’s what that was.”

Bill and Deb Fennelly

Fennelly invites his wife, Deb, to the podium after the game.

Quotable Quotes:

“I think the magic of this program came out today.” – Bill Fennelly

“I’m really happy for our team. Our team needed this really bad. I’m really happy that they’ll get to stand out there at half court one year and tell everyone what they did against the University of Texas.” – Bill Fennelly

“All of our former players and the magic of the fans knocked that last shot off.” – Bill Fennelly

“The credit goes to our fans. You’ll never understand how loud it got on that court and the way we played through it – down 18 – everyone played with a little more heart.” Brynn Williamson

“We went into the locker room and we’re all celebrating but we’re not done yet. We have another top-five team to play,” – Brynn Williamson

“It felt like the longest three seconds of my life.” – Nikki Moody on Texas’ final shots

“It was the best feeling. I can’t even describe it.” – Nikki Moody

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About Nicole Leusink

I'm in my fourth year at Iowa State as the communications director for women's basketball. I also assist with football, soccer and swimming and diving. I am a 2011 graduate of the University of Florida and a Pittsburgh, native. I am excited to give you a behind the scenes look at Iowa State athletics. Feel free to send me an e-mail at ngreiner@iastate.edu. You can also find me on twitter @NicoleGreiner. And as always, Go Cyclones!
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