Iowa State holds off Longhorns for 73-69 win
AMES, Iowa (AP) -- Megan Ronhovde is the ultimate catch-and-shoot basketball player, so when the ball came her way, there was no question what she'd do with it.
Swish. Iowa State wins.
Ronhovde's 3-pointer with 28 seconds left gave Iowa State the lead and the Cyclones (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP) went on to beat Texas (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) 73-69 on Saturday.
"It was just one of those shots at that time of the game, you have to put it up," Ronhovde said. "Whether it went in or it didn't, it would give us an opportunity to offensive rebound. But it went in."
Anne O'Neil then hit four straight free throws to secure the victory, which kept Iowa State (18-2, 8-1 Big 12) in first place in the league and broke Texas' four-game winning streak.
The Longhorns (13-7, 6-3) appeared to have regrouped after losing three of four in early January. But they missed crucial shots down the stretch and lost for the fourth time in five trips to Ames.
"I'd almost rather go to Lubbock and Waco three times than have to come up here," Texas coach Jody Conradt said. "Because it's just really hard to play here. They are a different team here than they generally are on the road."
Iowa State never trailed after taking a 39-35 halftime lead and held off repeated threats by the Longhorns during the final 20 minutes.
Texas finally tied it at 66 when Tiffany Jackson grabbed the rebound on teammate Jamie Carey's missed 3-point shot and scored on the putback with 45.3 seconds left.
Iowa State's Lyndsey Medders then drove down the lane and fired the ball to Ronhovde in the right corner. Texas' Annissa Hastings dropped off to help on Medders, leaving Ronhovde with a clear look at the basket.
"You've got one of the quickest and best 3-point shooters in the country," Medders said. "There was no doubt in my mind that ball was going in."
O'Neil made two free throws with 8.7 seconds to go -- after Carey airballed a 3-point attempt -- to make it 71-66. Texas' Daria Mieloszynska hit a 3 from 28 feet to cut the lead to 71-69, but O'Neil made two more free throws with 3 seconds remaining to finish it off.
O'Neil and Medders led Iowa State with 19 points each, with O'Neil going 10-for-11 from the line and grabbing seven rebounds. Katie Robinette added 14 points for the Cyclones, while Ronhovde finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.
Ronhovde was 3-for-3 on 3-pointers after going 6-for-6 against Colorado on Wednesday.
"I don't think we play many teams where you have to be more disciplined than you do against Iowa State," Conradt said. "One defensive slip and they get a 3."
Jackson led Texas with 23 points and 14 rebounds and Nina Norman scored 11, all in the first half. Carey, shadowed most of the game by Medders in Iowa State's box-and-one defense, managed only seven on 3-for-11 shooting.
Iowa State seemed on the verge of breaking it open when Robinette scored inside with 16:54 remaining to stretch the lead to 48-41. But the Cyclones missed their next three shots and were in a tight game the rest of the way.
Jackson missed four straight free throws after Carey's jumper drew Texas to 63-62, helping Iowa State survive a 3?-minute scoring drought. It ended when Medders stole the ball and drove for a layup that she turned into a three-point play when Carey fouled her, making it 66-62 with 2:51 to go.
"You need something like that to break the ice," Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. "It was a huge play."
Jackson hit two free throws to cut the lead to 66-64 and Norman picked off a crosscourt pass to set up Jackson's putback that tied it.
Today, we didn't want to help off (on defense). You've got to pick your poison with them. We had to take our chances, and not double-down on someone like Robinette in the post. There are risks involved in doing that, but if you told me before the game that Robinette would have 14 points, I would have taken that. But then, when you look at what their perimeter players did in scoring, it's hard. We knew Medders is a very good player. She adds a different dimension to their team. She was no surprise to us as to how she played. All of them are a handful.
Right now, I am not ready to concede anything (on the pursuit of the Big 12 championship). I do think that we need to keep our nose to the grindstone. We made improvements in this game, but they are not showing up on the scoreboard. I think the conference title will come down to who has the most favorable schedule down the line - who is at home, who is away, who palys what team twice. We'll see."