Emotion and the fans helped the Iowa State women hang in against number seven Rutgers but in the end the Scarlet Knights had too much fire power as they downed the Cyclones 69-58 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Des Moines.
Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly, says even though they lost the game, he couldn’t be more proud of his team for the way they conducted themselves throughout. Despite suffering some crucial injuries this season the Cyclones managed to finish with a record of 21-13. Fennelly says he tells his team at the end of every season, "Don’t cry because it’s over, smile ’cause it happened." Fennelly says everyone should have a big smile because of the team and the way it played this season.
Junior guard Heather Ezell led the Cyclones with 19 points as says the partisan crowd gave the Cyclones a boost. Ezell says the crowd showed so much support and it’s important to acknowledge the loyalty of the fans.
Center Kia Vaughn led Rutgers with 23 points and it was a triumphant return to the state for former Iowa coach C. Vivian Stringer. Stringer says it was a great and tough game and glad they came out with a win. She says the fans made it tough to hear, but she says she’s not surprised that Iowans would come out and support their team.
Stringer says she was impressed but not surprised by the fan support for the Cyclones, as she knows in Iowa it’s not about whether you win or lose, but you need to give a great effort and be a good person and Iowans will recognize that. Stringer says she’s glad to be back in Iowa and will be back again in the summer, but not to play basketball.
Stringer says she has nothing but fond memories of Iowa.Rutgers will head to Greensboro, North Carolina for the "Sweet 16" with a record of 26-6.
In the early game in Des Moines, a last second free throw enabled Oklahoma State to advance to the "sweet 16". Andrea Riley hit one of two free throws with point-seven seconds remaining in overtime as the Cowgirls edged Florida State 73-72. The game was close the entire way and the teams were nearly identical in every category.