AMES | Defense reigned supreme in Hilton Coliseum for three quarters as Iowa State (7-9, 1-4 Big 12) hosted Kansas State (10-6, 2-3 Big 12).
Each team shot under 40 percent from the field and no team had scored 20 points in a quarter.
Until the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats’ shots started finding the bottom of the net and the Cyclones were unable to answer. Kansas State shot 9 of 13 from the field and 4 of 5 from 3-point range in the quarter, putting Iowa State away 67-60.
“Defensively, in the fourth quarter, we were nonexistent,” coach Bill Fennelly said. “Our attention to detail was awful and obviously I have to do a better job of getting them to understand that. For the first three quarters, I thought we played as well as we could play. We did the things we needed to do to put ourselves in position to win the game, but the fourth quarter attention to detail, defensively is what got us.”
Kayla Goth led Kansas State with 16 points. The junior scored 11 of her 16 in the fourth quarter.
Goth’s running mate, Rachel Ranke, scored 14 points in the game, including 11 in the second half. She made four 3-pointers in the game, including three in the fourth quarter.
“I felt like it was us, it was our defense,” forward Bride Kennedy-Hopoate said. “Coach always talks about how one possession can change the game and it’s always one more and one less and we had lapses here and there and we just can’t afford that. That’s what really changed the game in the end.”
For Iowa State, Bridget Carleton once again led the way for Iowa State. The junior had 16 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.
But the player that kept Iowa State in the game was junior college transfer Kennedy-Hopoate. The forward had 17 points — all in the second half — on 7 of 8 shooting.
She was able to use a bevy of post moves and a mid-range jumpers to keep Iowa State afloat offensively.
“I just felt like someone needed to step up and I knew I could do something in the post,” Kennedy-Hopoate said. “When I got the ball I just wanted to be aggressive and put them up.”
Iowa State’s other post player Meredith Burkhall had seven points on 3 of 6 shooting. Burkhall and Kennedy-Hopoate were the only Iowa State players to shoot over 33 percent from the field.
“If you take our post players out of the game, Bride and Meredith [Burkhall], we go 12 of 48 from the field,” Fennelly said.
This is the second game in a row that Iowa State lost not only in the final quarter, but the final minutes. Earlier in the season, Iowa State lost three games in a four-game stretch by three points. Carleton wants the close losses to fuel Iowa State.
“I think we have to use it as motivation,” Carleton said. “We’re that close. Our record is 7-9 now but we’ve been so close in so many games that we just have to use it as motivation and fire to make us want to get better and hit that one more shot or two more free throws. It’s one possession here or there that makes the difference in a lot of games for us.”