By Rob Gray
AMES — As Iowa State star Hallie Christofferson endured two rare extended bench stays because of foul trouble, point guard Nikki Moody reached out for an assist.
“I told her, I had her,” Moody said. “‘I got you.’”
Her and everyone.
Moody’s 16 points and season-high eight assists helped the No. 20 Cyclones overcome Christofferson’s absence Wednesday in an 83-55 rout of Northern Iowa that played out before 9,932 fans at Hilton Coliseum.
“I thought it was the best game Nikki’s played,” Cyclones coach Bill Fennelly said.
Christofferson still scored 22 points in 22 minutes as ISU improved to 7-0 and 17-0 all-time against the Panthers (2-6) at home.
Seanna Johnson added 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Cyclones, who finished with 17 offensive boards.
Moody lost just three turnovers despite her best scoring option missing key minutes late in the first half and early in the second.
To compound matters, starting guard Jadda Buckley battled foul trouble at the same time as Christofferson.
“The two issues there are our best player’s not playing and the other person (Buckley) who relieves the ball handling pressure’s not playing,” Fennelly said. “Uh oh. What do I do now?”
Answer: Rise up.
Moody’s season assist-to-turnover ratio improved to 40-to-20 — that magic 2-to-1 figure.
“Whether it’s scoring, whether it’s assists, whether it’s rebounding, steals — every game I need to do what I need to do to help my team win,” Moody said. “If I’m going to score 16, I’ll score 16. If I score five, I score five. Whatever it takes.”
Wednesday, that included an assist and two blocked shots during a Christofferson-sparked and Buckley-stoked 16-0 first-half run that turned a 14-14 tie into a comfortable 30-14 lead.
Christofferson scored the first seven points during the surge.
“She’s phenomenal; she’s an all-American,” Panthers coach Tanya Warren said of Christofferson. “You can’t defend her, let’s just be honest. And what makes Iowa State so tough is they can score from all five positions. … They’re as efficient as I’ve seen in a long, long time.”
UNI shot a season-best 46.2 percent from 3-point range (10 of 22).
Madison Weekly led the Panthers with 16 points.
The Cyclones missed 6 of their first 7 3-pointers but made 6 of their next 8 from beyond the arc.
“Nikki did a really good job of attacking the basket,” ISU guard Brynn Williamson said. “When she does that, it opens up so many other things for people.”
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