Junior point guard Erin Grant turned in 40 minutes with no turnovers, 9 assists, and 12 points, coming within an ace of a double-double as she directed Tech's comeback attacks. The Lady Raiders made up a six-point deficit at the half en route to the win. Four Tech players scored in double figures: Robertson with 13, junior guard Chesley Dabbs with 13, Grant and starting center Cisti Greenwalt with 12 apiece. Junior forward LaToya Davis collared 10 rebounds and three points to go with three assists and a steal while playing a limited 25 minutes.
Bench help lifted Tech into the lead late as Judith Smith sank a dagger of a trey, half her total points on the day, off her own steal and a smart exchange of passes with Grant; Darrice Griffin, Tech's most experienced freshman, utilized sterling defensive skills in her 29 minute performance to collect four boards, a block and two steals. She had two points and finished the game with two fouls.
"We didn't want to go home," Dabbs said after the game when asked what the team had talked about during the halftime break. "We knew we were close to going home, and we had to come out and pick it up.
"We talked about not going home, about needing to play with everything we had," Dabbs said. "We had to stop them. They were getting so many offensive boards, they were killing us."
Assistant coach Linden Weese had a different reaction to the nail-biter ballgame's outcome: "Was that fun, or what?"
He set the scene for the final inbounds play allowing the Lady Raiders to score the winning points: "We'd run that triangle set with about two minutes left in the first half and Coach noted right away that Alesha was wide open from the start. She said, ‘File that away, we may be able to use that later.'
"Erin was real patient finding her (on the inbounds) and Alesha knocked the free throws down for us," Weese said. The coach also praised the play of freshmen Smith and Griffin.
"We mainly switched Darrice when Ches got her third fouls, and Darrice was able to go out and guard O'Neil," Weese said. "Boy, she was huge tonight. When we first were talking to her, her junior year in high school, Coach Sharp told her she could get herself some playing time with her defense.
"She's just amazing," he said, "and she's real proud of her defense."
Another key to the win that Weese identified came off the play of Tech's only senior.
"Cisti made some big buckets for us tonight," Weese said. Greenwalt finished with nine rebounds and two blocks in a 26-minute appearance.
Erin Myrick, the freshman backup center played just more than one minute; the Lady Raiders picked off a total of 36 rebounds in the game, 11 of them offensive, and half a dozen steals. Tech had five blocks and shot 22 of 56 from the field as well as nine of 12 from the charity stripe; the Lady Raiders sank eight of the 15 shots they took from three-point country, including two of four for Smith and three of five for Robertson. Dabbs dropped in one trey in two tries and Grant hit two of four from beyond the arc.
Iowa State's Anne O'Neil led all scorers with 22 points; she played 38 minutes, grabbed nine rebounds, and collected a steal and three assists. Right behind her, Lisa Kreiner scored 16 points while collaring seven rebounds in 30 minutes on the floor. Katie Robinette, ISU's center, scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds, swiping the ball twice; Megan Ronhovde finished with five points, two boards and a turnover in 26 minutes' play.
Mary Fox shot one of eight from the field, adding three rebounds to her two points and three dishes. Lyndsey Medders hit one of nine, none of four from beyond the arc, and grabbed four boards to go with her team-high five assists in 35 minutes. Tegan Stuart spent just over two minutes in the game, while Tracy Paustian appeared for just under one; Brittany Wilkins hit the only field goal she attempted, grabbed two boards and blocked one shot in seven minutes' play.
Officials Brian Enterline, Wesley Dean, and Artrail Tillman called 17 personal fouls on the Lady Raiders, while notching 13 such infractions on Iowa State's slate for the game. Tech shot 39.3 percent for the game in front of a 5,119-spectator tournament crowd.
The win raises Tech's season record to 22-6 and earns them a berth in Thursday night's semifinal match against Baylor. Iowa State University ends their run in the Big 12 tournament after a last-second three-point field goal propelled them past the University of Colorado in Tuesday's opening round; the Cyclones are 23-6 and expected to receive a bid to the NCAA Women's Postseason Tournament.
Baylor, like Tech benefiting from a bye after winning the regular season, dropped a 70-52 defeat on the 11-18 University of Missouri Tigers earlier in the day. Baylor has beaten Tech twice during the regular season.