AMES — The needed boosts came from multiple sources and various angles.
Any time No.16 Oklahoma made a run at 24th-ranked Iowa State Tuesday at Hilton Coliseum, one or more Cyclones interceded to stem the tide — with an offensive rebound here, a defensive stand there.
“We made the extra effort tonight,” said ISU forward Hallie Christofferson, who scored a career high-tying 24 points in a runaway 82-61 Big 12 win over the always-gritty Sooners. “And that made us be in the right place at the right time to get the little things and make things happen. We got a lot of energy from that. The crowd was really into it.”
The throng of 10,379 had plenty of reasons to cheer — from little things to big numbers.
The Cyclones (13-2, 4-1) never trailed and matched their most lopsided win over Oklahoma (14-3, 4-1) since the Big 12’s inception.
Point guard Nikki Moody balanced swagger with a steady hand, scoring 20 points and dishing out a career-best 13 assists.
“We’ve had our moments, like every point guard I’ve ever coached,” Fennelly said of his relationship with Moody. “They need to be tough. They need to be resilient. And they need to have a certain edge to them. All the good ones do.”
Moody, said Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale, showed considerable improvement over last year.
“But Bill’s players always get better,” she added.
What’s allowed Moody to make a leap up the ladder?
“I just have more faith in my teammates,” said Moody, who drained 13 of 14 free throws. “I feed off their energy.”
The crowd’s, too.
It crested at a critical time.
Oklahoma — which trailed the entire game — pulled within eight points, at 49-41, with 14:31 left.
Cue the little things.
Like an offensive rebound from Brynn Williamson during the key ensuing sequence that kept one possession alive for Christofferson, who buried a jumper in the lane.
Christofferson then capped an 8-0 run with a 3-pointer with 11:05 left that put ISU ahead by double digits for good.
“Little moments,” Fennelly said. “Might be the first play of the game, might be the last play of the game. Might be with 11 minutes to go and you’re on the ropes — somebody make a play to help the team.”
Tuesday, those plays came mostly from players not named Chelsea Poppens, who endured foul trouble.
She fouled out with eight points and five rebounds.
“Teams are built on people doing things when you need them,” Fennelly said. “And tonight it was Hallie and Nikki and Kidd (Blaskowsky) at the times when we absolutely needed them.”