Iowa State came back quickly in the opening moments of the second half. Katie Robinette, Megan Ronhovde and Lisa Kriener combined to score 19 points, and Iowa State jumped out to a 44-36 lead at the 12-minute mark, using two post players in the lineup.
"Katie and Lisa did a good job of adjusting," ISU head coach Bill Fennelly said. "We pulled (Hager) out of the lane and went at the other forward."
The Panthers tied the game at 46 with under nine minutes left after the Cyclones committed all seven of their second-half turnovers in less than four minutes. Then senior Mary Fox helped ISU pull away, scoring 11 points in three minutes to give the Cyclones a 61-50 lead with three minutes left. As a team, Iowa State scored on nine consecutive possessions following the 46-46 tie to lead 66-54 with a minute left.
Iowa State turned the tables in the second half, outscoring UNI 43-28 while shooting 65 percent compared to the Panthers' 32 percent. Fox and Ronhovde both scored 11 points in the second half. Ronhovde led four Iowa State players in double figures with 16 points in the game. Robinette finished with 14 points and Kriener added nine points and eight rebounds. Hager had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Northern Iowa, and Alex Cook finished with 16 points.
"We didn't play a great game, but we played hard; we kept fighting," Fennelly said. "Hopefully in March we'll look back and say that this was a quality win for Iowa State on the road."
After a week off for final exams, Iowa State will travel to Las Vegas, Nev., for the Duel in the Desert. The Cyclones open the tournament Saturday, Dec. 18, against Eastern Kentucky at 9:30 p.m. CST.