AMES — Baby hooks.
If Iowa State’s Chelsea Poppens shot it, she scored it.
“It felt like all my shots were going in no matter how I was shooting them,” said the Cyclone senior forward, who notched her fourth career first-half double-double in Saturday’s never-in-doubt 87-71 Big 12 win over Kansas State.
The second half?
Less than perfect — but good enough to earn the surging Cyclones (17-5, 8-4) their third straight win before a crowd of 11,963 at Hilton Coliseum.
Poppens posted 20 of her 22 points and 12 of her game-high 18 rebounds before the break as ISU led by as many as 24 points against the height-challenged Wildcats (12-11, 3-8).
“The size difference definitely came into play,” said Poppens, who made 7 of 11 shots in the first half, but 1 of 7 in the second. “It just seemed that we could get them pinned easier and lob it a little bit easier than we would against certain other teams. It was just going our way.”
Especially in the paint.
Hallie Christofferson scored a team- and career-high 25 points on 11 of 17 shooting.
She also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out four of the Cyclones’ 29 assists.
“When we push the ball and score like that, the crowd just goes crazy, which helps us keep hitting shots, keep pushing it,” said ISU point guard Nikki Moody, who peppered her teammates with a career high-tying 13 assists.
Anna Prins added 10 points in just 12 minutes as the Cyclones took advantage of a K-State team that didn’t field a player taller than 5-11.
“We don’t get that a lot where you’re just throwing it in, throwing it in,”said ISU coach Bill Fennelly, whose team made 17 of its first 23 field goals. And I think in the first half, we were really good doing it.”
The Wildcats found virtually no offense beyond Brittany Chambers and Mariah White, who combined for the best two-player points total in school history with 59.
Chambers poured in 34 points.
“As good a performance in our building (I’ve seen),” Fennelly said.
One Cyclone sticking point: K-State got to the free throw line 27 times to their 10.
Other than that, smooth sailing against a team that’s provided some stormy moments in the past — including a first-round Big 12 Tournament ouster last season.“One more step,” Fennelly said. “February’s here and we’re 3-0 in February. We’re 8-2 in our little 16-game (non-Baylor) schedule. So very proud of our team.”