Sweet revenge for Cyclone Women

Last year, Drake whipped the Iowa State Women's basketball team 61-36 in Des Moines. It was a totally different story on Wednesday night at Hilton Coliseum and an extra special night for one of the Cyclones' star players.

Paybacks are tough. Just ask the Drake Bulldog Women's basketball team.

Last season, the Bulldogs smoked the Cyclone Women 61-36 at the Knapp Center in Des Moines in a game that seemed to set the tone for the early part of the season for Iowa State.

On Wednesday night, the Cyclones faced the Bulldogs in the friendly confines of Hilton Coliseum in front of 6,931 mostly partisan fans and whipped the Missouri Valley team 69-40.

"The way we won was the way we planned last season," said ISU forward Mary Fox, speaking of the motivation that has lingered with the Cyclones since their crushing loss in Des Moines last season.

Iowa State jumped out to a quick 12-0 lead and was never seriously threatened afterwards as they put the defensive clamps on Drake and held them to a frigid 27.6% shooting for the game.

The score was 34-18 at half-time and the Cyclones picked up where they left off in the second stanza and outscored Drake 16-2 to build up a 30 point lead, coasting the rest of the way to the victory that pushed their season record to 5-1.

ISU guard Anne O'Neil had some special motivation for the game in addition to atonement for last year's debacle - it was her birthday Wednesday. O'Neil started slowly, forcing her game trying to draw fouls, but once she got into a rhythm, she was on a roll and led the Cyclones with 17 points.

"I think her defense has helped her offense," ISU coach Bill Fennelly said about his star player. "It was a good story with her birthday. There isn't a kid on the team that wants to win more than her."

Part of that defense was her work on Drake guard Linda Sayavongchanh, who entered the contest with an 11.4 scoring average. Sayavongchanh didn't hit her first field goal until just two minutes were left in the contest and finished with only five total points.

But O'Neil wasn't the only guard who did some good work in stopping Drake's spark plug.

Junior college transfer Tegan Stuart also helped defend Sayavongchanh and is rapidly becoming the team's defensive stopper. Fennelly played Stuart liberally in the game, even starting her in the second half ahead of regular Lyndsey Medders.

"Tegan has impacted this team," Fennelly said. "She has struggled with her shot, but she goes three of five (from the three point line) tonight and that helped."

Stuart has quickly become a crowd favorite with her tenacious defense, but her surprise knock down of the trio of threes really brought the Cyclone fans to their feet. She also was involved in some pre-game motivation.

"I reminded everyone of what happened last year (the Drake loss)," Stuart said, even though she wasn't on the team at the time, but had closely followed the game as a recruit.

As for the Bulldogs, 26% shooting and 40 points tells the story. It was Drake's lowest point output in six years.

"When two of your top three scorers don't score, it's going to affect your game," said Drake coach Amy Stephens, a former Cyclone assistant. "When you shoot 26% it's going to be a long night at Iowa State. We had good looks, but the ball didn't fall."

Stephens did find one bright spot for the Bulldogs, however, in that they held the Cyclones to 20 below their season average. The majority of that was due to lack of scoring by the Cyclone post players as they went seven of 22 from the field.

Center Katie Robinette, who's been a dynamo for the Cyclones this season was held to just 10 points. Forwards Mary Fox and Megan Ronhovde contributed 10 and 11 points respectively.

"It just wasn't Katie's night," Fennelly said of his leading scorer.

Center Jill Martin led the Bulldogs' scoring with 11 points, but no other player could manage over eight.

Next up on the Cyclones' scheduled is a date with the Northern Iowa Panthers on Saturday night in Cedar Falls.

"(UNI) is as well coached a team as we've played," Fennelly said, ratcheting up the pressure for the upcoming game. "If this team has legitimate goals for the season, it is a must win game for us."

But for this night, the Cyclones could bask in the pleasure of having wiped away the bad memory of last year's defeat at the hands of Drake. For senior Anne O'Neil it was truly a night to remember.

"This (the win) was all I was asking for on my birthday," she said.

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