AMES — They bounced high.
They lipped out.
They rattled, rolled, but rarely dropped in.
Iowa State’s 3-point shooting woes worsened Wednesday, as the No. 11 Cyclones missed their first 12 attempts from long range and fell hard to Big 12 rival West Virginia 73-59 before 9,824 perplexed fans at Hilton Coliseum.
The Cyclones (14-2, 3-2) converted just 2 of 20 3-pointers one game after a 3 of 17 performance from beyond the arc helped frame a 69-62 loss to No. 13 Oklahoma State.
That makes ISU — which typically counts perimeter shooting as a strength — 5 of 37 in the past two games.
“I think our numbers show that we need to get in the gym and we need to get some shots up,” said ISU’s Hallie Christofferson, who scored 21 points on 9-of-12 field goal shooting. “We’ve just got to play basketball.”
Don’t blame a lack of confidence for the recent long-distance downturn.
Cyclones Coach Bill Fennelly said there’s one solution to poor shooting — and it coincides with Christofferson’s take.
“You build confidence by getting in the gym and working and taking shots you’re supposed to take and bowing up and doing what you’re supposed to do,” said Fennelly, whose team has lost two in a row for the first time since dropping three straight to end the 2011-12 season. “When you’re not making them the only thing I know is — it’s like someone sent me a Twitter feed the other day: A kid comes in, ‘Coach, I’m not making shots.’ Coach says, ‘Get in the gym and work.’ Kid says, ‘You got any other ideas?’ Sometimes you’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do.”
Linda Stepney scored 16 points to pace West Virginia, which led by as many 16 points and no fewer that six in the second half.
The Mountaineers (15-2, 4-1) made 12 3-pointers, or double their season average.
They’ve now won on the road against two top-13 teams, but continue to fight for national respect.
“Probably still won’t be top 25,” West Virginia Coach Mike Carey said. “Hopefully people start taking notice.”
Fennelly already has — but he’s not a recent convert.
“They’re a team that’s going to be, at the end of the year, a tough out in the tournament,” Fennelly said. “If they make shots like that, they’re going to be really hard to beat.”
West Virginia controlled the game from its outset, rolling to a 19-4 lead with 11:34 left in the first half.
Christofferson kept ISU afloat by scoring its first nine points, but had little scoring help until her team rediscovered the dribble-drive in the second half and Jadda Buckley notched 11 of her 15 points.
“We never want to let our fans down,” Buckley said. “And we never want to let ourselves down.”
Particularly Christofferson, who has scored 20 or more points 11 times this season.“That kid deserves everyone’s best effort,” Fennelly said. “And she didn’t get it.”