Ronhovde's Bucket Keys ISU Victory

<b>AMES, IA --</b> Megan Ronhovde was content to sit back and watch a pair of teammates score 19 points against Texas. But with 28 seconds left, it was the sophomore's turn to make an impact. That's when Ronhovde hit a game-tying 3-pointer to life #19 Iowa State to a 73-69 victory over 13th-ranked Texas.

The jumper helped the Cyclones fend off a late second half charge by the Longhorns, who had tied the game at 66-66 with 46 seconds remaining. ISU led by four points at halftime, but shot just 35 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes.

"This team is always been known for how well they shoot, but in the second half we didn't make anything," said Cyclone coach Bill Fennelly. "We just kept playing and it was nice to see that we found a way to win the game. We did the things that we had to do. Even though we couldn't score, they weren't really scoring either. We guarded hard."

They also got the key shot when needed. Ronhovde's jumper came off an assist from a driving Lyndsey Medders, who pulled a defender off of her.

Ronhovde attempted just five shots in the game – making three of them – and did most of her work on the boards where she led ISU with eight.

"It was tough to get a shot off through the whole game," said Ronhovde. "Lyndsey drove the lane and my defender collapsed. It was just one of those shots at that time of the game that you knew you had to put up. Whether it goes in or not, it would give us an opportunity to offensive rebound. But it went in."

It was the final dagger in a game that saw the Cyclones respond numerous times to Longhorn threats. ISU stretched its lead to seven points early in the half and six in the final seven minutes of play, but was never able to pull away.

But on the other hand, Texas was never able to mount a game-breaking run.

"It could have gone either way," said Longhorn coach Jody Conradt. "They're really hard to play here. They play with so much confidence and I don't think we play many teams where you have to be more disciplined than you do against Iowa State. One defensive slip and they get a three.

"Good teams just kept beating us back and they did that. Had we played the first half the way we played the second half, that would have been our best chance to win the game. It's just that we couldn't make ourselves believe that every time we forgot where they were, helped off, or turned our heads that they were going to make a shot. They do that really well."

ISU got its usual dose of balanced scoring, as four of five starters scored in double figures. Anne O'Neil and Medders paced the Cyclones with 19 points, while Katie Robinette added 14 before fouling out with 3:36 to play. Ronhovde added 12 points.

O'Neil's production was expected, as she averages 17.3 points a game. But it was Medders who came up big when the Longhorn defense tried to account for O'Neil and Mary Fox.

"I had the opportunity to score more and they weren't coming off our other players," Medders said. "I took a lot more shots than I'm happy with, but a couple rolled in. That's just credit to me having great teammates that have played well all year. That gives me the option to score more."

Meanwhile, Texas wasn't able to achieve that balance. Prolific sophomore Tiffany Jackson scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, but didn't get much help from others. The four other Longhorn starters shot a combined 11-of-33 from the field and scored just 28 points.

A crowd of 10,811 watched Saturday's game between a pair of top-20 teams. The contest had the feel of an NCAA Tournament contest.

"There is no question we don't win that game without our fans," Fennelly said. "That was as great an atmosphere as we've had here in a long time. There were a couple of possessions in the second half where it felt like we guarded for a minute and a half at a time, and our fans recognized that. They got everybody in the game."

With their eighth win in nine Big 12 games, the Cyclones remained on top in the conference standings. More importantly, they handed preseason favorite Texas its third defeat in nine contests. ISU improved to 18-2 overall and will travel to Texas Tech on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. showdown.

One thing is for sure.

"This will give us confidence for tournament time," Medders said. "It's February and time to bear down. This is when good teams become great, and everyone else stays average."

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