AMES, Iowa — It seemed like everyone in Iowa had been waiting all week for today, when the Cyclones and Hawkeyes resume their heated instate series.
The Iowa and Iowa State women got the rivalry stewing a night ahead of schedule.
Brynn Williamson scored a career-high 21 points and 17th-ranked Cyclones beat No. 21 Iowa 83-70 Thursday night for its best start in 12 years.
Freshman Jadda Buckley had 19 points and Hallie Christofferson scored 18 with 14 rebounds for the Cyclones, who are 9-0 for the first time since starting 12-0 in 2001-02.
But the game’s most interesting moment came with 39.6 seconds left.
Although Iowa was down 16, Hawkeyes coach Lisa Bluder kept pressing — and Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly responded by re-inserting his starting five.
Fennelly clearly wasn’t pleased by Iowa’s aggressive approach against his bench players.
“If she wants to leave her starters in, that’s her business. But I didn’t want (Bluder) trying to embarrass my second team,” Fennelly said. “My job is to protect our players, and if you’re going to press my second team, then I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do. So, that’s their choice and that was my choice.”
According to Bluder, Iowa was simply using those final moments as a teaching tool.
“He can do what he wants,” Bluder said of Fennelly. “We’re just trying to do the best until the buzzer ends, and you work on situations that are going to help you. Now, that game was over. So what we’re trying to do is to try to get through those situations and learn so that when we play down the road, we can get better in those situations. But any coach has the opportunity to do anything they want until the buzzer sounds.”
But nothing Iowa tried could hold back the Cyclones, who won their ninth straight at home against the Hawkeyes under Fennelly.
Iowa came in with a six-game winning streak and the Big Ten’s top offense. But the Hawkeyes had just 20 free-throw tries compared to 49 for Iowa State — including 35 in the second half.
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