Kriener's Fast Start Key in Victory

After feeling somewhat responsible for Iowa State's double-overtime loss to Baylor over the weekend, Lisa Kriener felt she had something to prove upon returning home to the friendly confines of Hilton Coliseum.

It didn't take long for the sophomore center to assert herself Wednesday night against Oklahoma State, as she already had a double-double at halftime in a 79-55 victory. Kriener went on to score 27 points and grab 13 rebounds and in doing so the first-year starter dominated one of the league's better post players in Trisha Skibbe.

"Coming off of a game like my last one, it was very unlike me and I took it pretty hard," said Kriener, who has had her ups and downs this season after taking over for four-year starter and All-American Angie Welle. "Shooting 2-for-10 against Baylor makes it really hard, but it really motivated me to get off to a good start tonight. Hitting that first 3-pointer early in the game really got me off and rolling."

Kriener did hit her fourth 3-pointer of the year to give the Cyclones a 12-4 lead 4:16 into play, but did most of her work inside. Points came easy to her during a dominating first-half performance by ISU, which shot a sizzling 56 percent from the field through 20 minutes. Kriener also hit 10-of-12 free throws and contributed to Skibbe's foul trouble.

First-year Cowgirl coach Julie Goodenough felt her team had a good strategy for defending Kriener, but that the ISU center was on top of her game.

"She was just awesome and did a great job," Goodenough said. "We wanted to front her in the post, but we didn't do a very good job of it. She was putting on a clinic in there at times. She did a phenomenal job. We knew ahead of time she had multiple most moves, but I was really impressed with her in person."

The extra spark inside gave the Cyclones all they needed in the way of production. Lindsey Wilson and Anne O'Neil combined for 32 points and seven assists on the perimeter, but also committed 12 of the team's 17 turnovers.

ISU mishaps led to an OSU flurry of points to lead off the second half. After surging to a 42-18 advantage heading into the locker room, it was slow going for the Cyclones coming out. ISU went ahead 45-23 on a Mary Cofield free throw two minutes into the half, but Oklahoma State then scored 18 unanswered points to cut the lead to just four points with 14:05 remaining.

But that's when the Cyclones started what Bill Fennelly called the third game of a three-game series Wednesday. ISU scored 12 of the next 14 points to take a 57-43 lead and led by double digits the rest of the way.

Most of the Cyclones' points during that run came at the free throw line. Kriener and Erica Junod each started it by making a pair at the charity stripe. Junod later finished it with two more free throws at the 8:57 mark.

"I feel like we just one a playoff series, 2-1, in the WNBA playoffs," Fennelly said. "I can't remember coaching in a game quite like this one. It was like we won the first game by playing a solid first half, then just played the worst basketball possible in the first six minutes of the second half. Our offense was very poor at that point. We were turning the ball over too much and forcing things. But then we recovered and played well the rest of the game."

With the victory, ISU improved to 4-4 in Big 12 action, joining a fray of teams with .500 marks in the league. However, with a 9-10 record overall, the Cyclones are in need of a late-season surge to have a chance at a NCAA Tournament bid.

That won't be easy with a Sunday date set in Lubbock against Texas Tech. Action starts at 3 p.m. and the game is being broadcast by ESPN2.

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