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Lady Jackets bounced in first rounf of tournament

POSTED: April 2, 2008 5:01 a.m.

DES MOINES, Iowa — MaChelle Joseph and Jacqua Williams saw a clean steal. The official saw a foul.
As usual, the official’s position prevailed.

Williams’ foul sent Alison Lacey to the line with 12 seconds left and she made the two free throws that nailed down Iowa State’s 58-55 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday in the first round of the Greensboro Regional.

“Initially, I felt like it was a clean steal,” said Williams, who averages 4.4 steals and had three in this game. “Once they blew the whistle, it kind of hurt a little bit.”

Lacey also made a huge play moments earlier, hitting a runner in the lane with 47.4 seconds left after Georgia Tech had pulled to within a point. Her clutch shooting was just enough to push the seventh-seeded Cyclones (21-12) into Monday night’s second round against the Rutgers-Robert Morris winner.

With the ISU campus only 35 miles to the north, it was essentially a home game for the Cyclones, who rank fifth nationally in attendance at 9,388 per game and had close to that number of cardinal- and gold-clad fans in the stands.

They needed all the support those fans could muster to survive the back-and-forth game against the quicker, more athletic Yellow Jackets (22-10), the No. 10 seed. Iowa State trailed by four at halftime, built a 13-point second-half lead behind freshman Kelsey Bolte’s long-range shooting, then had to fend off Tech at the end.

“Today was a microcosm of our season,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “We don’t look fancy, but we get the job done.”

The Cyclones looked downright ugly at times during a turnover-plagued first half. Georgia Tech’s pressing, trapping defense caused all sorts of havoc and Iowa State went long stretches without scoring. During one 4 1/2-minute stretch, the Cyclones didn’t even get a shot.

But after turning the ball over 12 times in the first half, the Cyclones cut that number in half over the final 20 minutes. And when their 3s starting falling, they built a lead.

“We knew we had to take care of the ball and we just kept shooting until our shots came,” Lacey said. “As we handled the press better, we had better opportunities to make shots.”

Bolte hit five straight 3-pointers in the second half and finished with 19 points to lead Iowa State, which improved to 7-2 in first-round games.

Jocelyn Anderson scored 12 points and blocked five shots, while Amanda Nisleit added 11 points and 12 rebounds. Lacey scored nine points.

Bolte missed her only 3-point shot in the first half. Then, after missing her first 3 of the second half, she drained four shots from beyond the arc to lead a 22-5 run that put the Cyclones up 42-29.

“In the first half, I was nervous,” Bolte said. “At halftime, my teammates kept telling me to shoot. There were so many fans here supporting us, it helped build my confidence.”

Georgia Tech still made it a game.

Jill Ingram, who led the Yellow Jackets with 21 points, hit a pair of 3s during an 11-2 run that cut the lead to 52-50. When Williams, who had 18 points, scored on a follow shot, the Yellow Jackets trailed just 54-53.

“I kept telling them in the timeouts I really felt we were fine,” said Joseph, Tech’s coach. “I thought our defense could get us back in the game and our kids bought into that.”

Tech misfired on two chances to take the lead, Anderson blocking Williams’ shot and Alex Montgomery missing a wide-open 3. Then Lacey spun into the lane from the left side to hit her big bucket with 1 second on the shot clock, giving ISU a 56-53 lead.

After Ingram drove for a layup to make it a one-point game, Williams went for the steal with Lacey dribbling near midcourt. Had the foul not been called, she would have had a breakaway layup. Instead, Lacey made the free throws and Tech missed two desperation shots at the end.

“I thought she made a major play for us,” Joseph said. “It didn’t go our way today.”



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