Cyclone Women Out-Fox Cowgirls

Iowa State forward Mary Fox normally doesn't receive as much attention as her fellow Cyclone seniors Anne O'Neil and Katie Robinette. But on Wednesday night she was, as coach Bill Fennelly put it, the star of the show as the Iowa State women cruised to a 90-65 win over the Oklahoma State Cowgirls and extended their record to 19-4 and 9-3 in the Big 12 Conference.

Fox connected on an almost perfect nine of 10 shooting from the field, including all six of her three point attempts. She also knocked down four of four free throws en route to a 28 point performance to lead all scorers.

"This is a night she'll remember the rest of her life," Fennelly said. "She got in a rhythm.

"Mary has been a notoriously slow starter (during the first semester), but she's gone from a role player to being someone who's critical for the success of the team.

"Our players are drawn to her because she's so enthusiastic."

Fennelly noticed during the last few days of practice, which he termed outstanding after two lopsided road losses, that Fox had her shot down.

"Coach, I owe you," Fennelly said that Fox remarked to him after one of the practices.

"No, you owe yourself," Fennelly replied and Fox happily collected against the Cowgirls.

Wednesday night, Fox collected in front of 8,851 Cyclone fans.

The game was fairly even during the first six minutes of play and deadlocked at the 8:53 mark of the first half at 20-20. At that point, the Cyclones changed their defense and the Cowgirls went stone cold. Iowa State went on a 21-0 run over the next six minutes before OSU converted, but were never challenged again as they entered the locker room leading 49-24 at half-time.

A huge key to the run, as well as the game itself, was the play of point guard Lyndsey Medders who dished out 13 assists against an amazing zero turnovers.

"She made the best decisions she's ever made," Fennelly commented about Medders ability to find the players with the hot hands.

He said that the coaches have been working diligently with Medders about the proper passing angles to deliver the ball to center Katie Robinette and it obviously worked as Robinette led the Cyclone scoring during their big run and wound up with 25 points.

Robinette also collected 11 rebounds as the Cyclones enjoyed a 41-27 advantage on the boards.

Compounding Oklahoma State's problems, 6-5 center Christian Hood ran into early foul problems.

"We had no offensive flow (after Hood sat down at the 15:15 mark of the first half)," Cowgirls coach Julie Goodenough said.

They also weren't prepared for Fox's output.

"I did not expect her to go nine of 10," Goodenough said. "She shot lights out. She knocked some down when we were in her face."

Destanie Sykes led the scoring for OSU with 14 and guard Nina Stone added 12.

For the Cyclones, who shot 51.6% for the night, Anne O'Neil contributed nine points and Medders added ten.

This was a must-win game for the Cyclones, according to Fennelly, and a huge turnaround for the team after lopsided losses at Texas Tech and Nebraska.

"After the week we had, this is good for the team," Fox said.

"We've focused on staying together," added Robinette.

The Cyclones are going to have to stay very focused, because they must travel to Waco, Texas on Friday to meet the league leading Baylor Bears on Saturday.

The team must take the day off on Thursday, since they practiced last Sunday, so they will only have one practice before the Baylor game.

"I don't know if there's anything that gets you ready for Baylor," Fennelly said.

But he added that as tournament time arrives, a team typically has only one day to prepare for a top opponent.

"At least we've got a chance," he said. "Lets go play and see what happens. With four games to go, we're still playing for first place and our team should be proud of that."

After being frustrated trying to match baskets with the offensive minded Cyclones on Wednesday night, Oklahoma State's Goodenough thinks the upcoming Iowa State v. Baylor matchup might hold special significance.

"It might be a preview of the Big 12 Championship game," she said.

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