Cyclone balance beats Aggies

A balanced attack by the Iowa State Women's basketball team was too much for a talented visiting Texas A&M squad as the Cyclones extended their unbeaten home court streak and defeated their Big 12 rival 68-54 Saturday night at Hilton Coliseum.

The four headed scoring machine of Katie Robinette (18 pts.), Mary Fox (15 pts.), Anne O'Neil (15 pts.) and Lyndsey Medders (14 pts.), was too much for the Aggies.

"We were lucky to be in it," said Aggie coach Gary Blair.

The Cyclones led from start to finish, but never really had a comfortable lead until the last few minutes of the game.

A three point goal by Mary Fox as time expired in the first half seemed to set the stage for the win, as the Cyclones went into the locker room with a 30-22 advantage. It was appropriate that Fox, who was four of nine beyond the arc, set the stage for the win.

Over 30 of her relatives and friends made a bus trip from Ohio to see the senior on the Hilton Court for the first time - for many of them - as well as the last time.

"It's just a great feeling to have people like your siblings see you in this facility," Fox said of the road trip.

There was concern that Fox might have been a bit uptight with all the attention, but Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said that she historically has played well in front of her family.

"She handles pressure as well as anyone I've coached," he said.

As for the Hilton atmosphere, A&M coach Blair had plenty to say after his first trip to Ames.

"I love the atmosphere," he said. "I love the families. They are very respectful and it's great to see all the kids."

He didn't enjoy seeing guards O'Neil and Medders, however, as they continually broke through the press of the quick and athletic Aggies.

"I think (O'Neil and Medders) are as good a guard combo as we have in the game," Blair said.

Medders had 10 assists and O'Neil six and they both hit critical three point shots as the Cyclones pulled away in the second half.

The Cyclones couldn't quite get untracked early on and Fennelly blamed it on an abbreviated practice schedule during the past few days. The coach wanted to give his players some needed rest, but was second guessing himself after the close contest in which the Cyclones were expected to prevail.

"We missed some wide open threes and the front end of one and ones," Fennelly said. "I was worried about (A&M's) pressure defense."

But it was Iowa State's ability to break the press and penetrate against the Aggie post players that put the game away. In addition, the Cyclone defenders played good position defense against A&M's inside game without fouling (12 team fouls for the game). The only Aggie player to inflict much damage was guard Charlette Castile with 20 points, including six of 13 beyond the three point line.

Robinette added 14 rebounds to her 18 points to lead Iowa State in both categories.

After the game, Blair was certainly a believer in the Cyclones.

"Bill's got a team good enough to get to the Sweet 16," he said. "My goal is to do what Iowa State is doing."

He also had some words for Cyclone fans about both the men's and women's basketball teams.

"You don't realize what you have here," he said. "Seventeen league wins (before Saturday's game) for both your men's and women's teams combined. That's the best in the conference."

The Cyclones (21-5, 11-4) continued their home season undefeated streak before 11,473 fans with Saturday's win, and have just one remaining regular season contest - a 7:00 p.m. Tuesday home game against Kansas.

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