ISU Women Get Revenge in Vegas

<b>LAS VEGAS -</b> Iowa State exacted revenge and gave head coach Bill Fennelly his 200th Cyclone victory with an 86-78 overtime win at UNLV Sunday night. The Cyclones (8-1) picked up their fifth consecutive victory to win the Duel in the Desert championship, avenging a loss to UNLV in last season's WNIT Final Four.

Cyclone senior Anne O'Neil earned tournament MVP honors after scoring 57 points and pulling down 19 rebounds in two games. O'Neil set a career mark with 28 points in the first-round win over Eastern Kentucky and bettered that with a career-best 29 points against UNLV. Mary Fox joined O'Neil on the all-tournament team, collecting 12 points in the final.

"Anne O'Neil was phenomenal tonight," Fennelly said. "Nobody wants to win more than that kid."

The game featured 10 lead changes and 10 ties. Iowa State trailed by as many as 12 points, falling behind early in the game. The Lady Rebels owned a 21-9 lead with 12:02 on the clock before ISU went on a 12-2 scoring run to pull within two (23-21) with 7:55 left in the first half. After trading baskets, UNLV built an 11-point lead with 1:38 left and owned a 37-29 lead at the break.

Iowa State trailed at the half despite shooting 43.5 percent from the floor and 57.1 percent (4-7) from behind the arc. UNLV hit 34.2 percent of its first-half shots, but got 38 attempts at the basket compared to the Cyclones' 23 shots. The Lady Rebels got 14 of their 22 first-half rebounds on the offensive glass, giving UNLV a 22-17 edge on the boards at the break. ISU had 12 turnovers in the first stanza.

"We won the game three or four times and we lost the game three or four times," Fennelly said. "We got off to a terrible start, but we are a team and I think tonight we showed that."

Iowa State owned its first lead of the game (44-43) with a Brittany Wilkins basket at 12:23. Wilkins came off the bench to score 10 points in the second half, hitting all four of her field-goal attempts.

"Wilkins and (Tracy) Paustian, the two biggest role players and cheerleaders, turned out to be huge in this game," Fennelly said.

The Cyclones extended their lead to as much as seven (67-60) with 3:49 left in regulation, but UNLV hit three of its next four shots to take a 68-67 lead with just 51 seconds left on the clock. ISU's Lyndsey Medders sank a jumper with 31 seconds left to put ISU up 69-68 and the Lady Rebels' Nikki Hitchens made just one of her two free throws at 0.09 to send the game into overtime.

Megan Ronhovde drained her first of two 3-pointers in the overtime to swing the momentum in Iowa State's direction. The Cyclones made all four field goals in the extra period and connected on 7-of-10 free throws to seal the victory. O'Neil sank a career-best 14-of-16 charity shots en route to her 29 points, adding nine rebounds.

"We tried a few different things defensively at the end that really made a difference," Fennelly said. "I think it really showed in the overtime. We were energized, excited and ready to go."

UNLV got 21 points from Shana Coleman and 20 points from Sheena Moore. The Lady Rebels outrebounded ISU 43-38, getting 28 boards on the offensive end. Iowa State shot 53.1 percent in the game and sank 26-of-31 free throws. UNLV took 78 shots, 34 from 3-point territory, hitting 33.3 percent from the floor overall.


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