By Rob Gray
AMES — Want to know how Iowa State beat Iowa Thursday at Hilton Coliseum?
Start with Cyclone guard Brynn Williamson’s first-half shot chart — and box score.
The Kansas City native scored a career-high 21 points, including five sorely needed 3-pointers before the break, as No. 11 ISU topped the 24th-ranked Hawkeyes 83-70 before a crowd of 11,543 at Hilton Coliseum.
“After the first one went in and the next one and the next one, it was kind of like, ‘All right. My teammates are going to get me open shots,’” Williamson said.
That’s not unusual.
But the rate at which Williamson — who sat out the previous game with a head injury — stretched the nets proved to be.
The 5-11 junior drained all of her first three long-range attempts and four of her first five as the Cyclones (9-0) went on a 16-2 first-half run that proved decisive.
“She got some good looks in transition,” said ISU coach Bill Fennelly, who improved to 9-0 against the Hawkeyes at home. “In the men’s game it’s a breakaway dunk that everyone seems to (enjoy). In our game, it’s a breakaway 3 — scatter play, rebound, push it, bang. And Brynn hit a couple of those in the first half.”
Samantha Logic led Iowa (10-2) with 18 points.
ISU maintained at least a 10-point lead over the Hawkeyes the final 22 minutes of the game, despite only shooting 19 percent from the field in the second half.
The main reason: Free throws.
The Cyclones shot 49 and made 37.
They went 29 of 35 from the line in the second half alone, with freshman guard Jadda Buckley and senior forward Hallie Christofferson each drilling 9 of 10.
“(They) did a great job of attacking the basket,” said Iowa coach Lisa Bluder, whose team made 13 of 20 free throws.
The plan, Fennelly said, was to beat the Hawkeyes off the bounce and Buckley played a key role in accomplishing that.
As starting point guard Nikki Moody battled foul trouble, Buckley became the steerer of the offense.
She ended up with a career-high 19 points, while adding three assists to just one turnover in 38 minutes.
“To turn the ball over one time in (that many) minutes and get to the free throw line — and she had to chase (Melissa) Dixon all night,” Fennelly said. “That’s a hard thing to do.”
Buckley and fellow freshman Seanna Johnson both shined in their first Cy-Hawk game.
Johnson clutched a career-high 16 rebounds and owns 39 boards in her past three games.
Christofferson missed her first six shots on a 4-for-14 shooting night, but still scored 18 points while snaring 14 rebounds.
“Nobody stopped playing,” Christofferson said. “Everybody had a little bit of momentum going. It’s Iowa, so you know there’s going to be a lot more of that.”
Plenty more games, too.
How good can ISU be?
They’ll have to wait until the Dec. 28-29 Cyclone Challenge to continue answering that question.
“If they continue to do the things we ask them to do, we’ll be a tough team,” Fennelly said.