AMES, Iowa — Forward Chelsea Poppens and center Anna Prins spent most of the first half sitting on the bench with two fouls apiece.
They watched the Texas Tech women’s basketball team take a 29-25 lead into intermission, as the Cyclones’ biggest advantage in Saturday’s Big 12 Conference game — size — was taken away early.
When the duo re-entered at the start of the second half, they showed the Lady Raiders what they were missing.
Poppens and Prins combined for 25 second-half points and kept Tech from any inside scoring presence en route to a 67-52 victory for No. 23 Iowa State.
“They came in the second half and played with a lot more energy and played smart basketball,” Tech coach Kristy Curry said, “and credit their perimeter for getting them those looks. You just can’t go back the other way and be as cold as we were.”
For the second time this season, the Lady Raiders shot under 30 percent against the Cyclones.
Tech made just six field goals in the second half (6 for 28) en route to a 28.8 percent clip from the field.
Poppens said her team switched to more of a zone in the second half to limit fouls, and it ended up keeping Tech out of the paint. Tech had a 10-8 advantage inside at the end of the first half, but was outscored 18-4 the rest of the way.
The Lady Raiders (16-6, 6-4) couldn’t hit their open jump shots, and Iowa State used a 19-5 run after intermission to build a double-digit lead it would never relinquish.
“I think we were as cold in here as it is outside,” said Curry, referring to the 19-degree weather in Ames.
Chynna Brown led Tech with 18 points, Kelsi Baker scored 16 and Monique Smalls added a dozen, but no other Lady Raider scored more than five points. Only five players scored for Tech, and starter Christine Hyde was held scoreless for the first time this season. Hyde did manage to pick up five fouls in only 12 minutes, though, as Tech struggled with foul trouble, too.
However, Curry gambled and stuck with her post players (Hyde and Baker) when they each had two fouls in the first half.
Prins went to the bench after four minutes, and Poppens after six, so Tech took advantage.
The Lady Raiders built an eight-point lead, 20-12, partially thanks to hot shooting by Brown. The senior scored on four straight trips to the basket at one point, briefly making Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly ponder sending Prins or Poppens back into the game.
“When it was 20-12 I said to (my assistant coaches) that if it gets to 10, one of them’s going in,” Fennelly said.
But the lead would get no bigger than eight, as the Lady Raiders began missing shots and the Cyclones pecked away at the deficit.
Hallie Christofferson, who played all 20 first-half minutes, scored 11 points in the opening period and finished with a double-double (15 points and 10 rebounds).
Poppens finished with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Prins tallied 12 points after combining for only five points in the first half.
“It was kind of a miracle that we were only down four,” Christofferson said, “and I guess we really came out in the second half and showed them what we needed to do.”
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