AMES | Hallie Christofferson’s all-American candidacy got off to a splendid start.
So did Jadda Buckley’s career at Iowa State.
Christofferson scored a career-high 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while Buckley, a freshman from Mason City, led the Cyclones with six assists and added six points in an 84-55 win over North Dakota on Sunday.
Christofferson’s 32 points is tied for the 10th-most points in Iowa State history. It was also her 12th career double-double.
“No. 5 is pretty good,” Fennelly said.
Pretty good may be an understatement for the 6-foot-3 senior from tiny Hamlin, Iowa, who is a unanimous preseason all-Big 12 selection.
“We all know how good she is but it’s nice to see her put up those kind of numbers so maybe some of the people in the rest of the country will realize how good she is,” Fennelly said.
Christofferson was the star Sunday as she climbed to 19th on Iowa State’s career scoring list but she had plenty of support.
Nicole Blaskowsky scored 14 points and grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds off the bench while Nikki Moody reached double figures with 10 points. Iowa State’s bench outscored North Dakota’s bench 27-13.
It was, however, what Iowa State did on the defensive end that finally allowed the Cyclones some breathing room.
With four minutes remaining in the first half, North Dakota had trimmed No. 23 Iowa State’s lead to 35-32.
North Dakota was shooting 45 percent (9 of 20) from the field at that juncture but finished at 30.4 percent on 17 of 56 shooting.
“I thought we played hard,” Christofferson said. “We started out better than we did in the exhibition games. We really had some energy from the beginning.”
Buckley, an all-state guard at Mason City High, started for the Cyclones in her first collegiate game, splitting time at the point guard and two-guard spots.
She played 26 minutes and even recorded a thunderous block in the second half as Iowa State wore down a much bigger North Dakota team.
Iowa State out-rebounded North Dakota 44-40.
“I thought Jadda was really good, especially when Nikki got her fourth foul,” Fennelly said. “We are starting them (Buckley and fellow freshman Seanna Johnson) because we believe in them and we trust them.”
The ultimate trust on this team lies with Christofferson, who was 11 of 18 from the field and 7 of 8 from the free-throw line.
Is she good enough to be an all-American?
“She’s good enough,” Fennelly said. “She has teammates that are good enough. Whether we win enough, I don’t know.”