Green Bay rolls past Iowa State 71-57 in NCAAsBy LUKE MEREDITH, AP Sports Writer Saturday, Mar 17, 2012
AMES, Iowa (AP)—The Green Bay Phoenix thought they should have been seeded much better than seventh. Drawing host Iowa State only seemed to make things worse.
Instead of complaining about a lack of respect, Green Bay went out and earned some.
Lydia Bauer and Sarah Eichler each scored 16 points and seventh-seeded Green Bay rolled over the Cyclones 71-57 in the NCAA tournament Saturday.
Adrian Ritchie added 15 for the Phoenix (31-1), who will take on second-seeded Kentucky in the second round Monday night.
Green Bay blitzed through the Cyclones in their own gym, running out to a 42-23 halftime lead and barely looking back. Iowa State got within 10 with 3:01 left, but the Phoenix held on to reach the round of 32 for the third year in a row.
“We talk a lot about playing as hard as anybody in the country and in the first half, wow, did we do that,” Green Bay coach Matt Bollant said. “They played really loose; they played really confident.”
Hallie Christofferson led five players in double figures with 12 points for Iowa State (18-13), which committed 30 turnovers and lost its NCAA tournament opener for the second straight year.
Bollant hasn’t been shy about acknowledging his displeasure with being a No. 7 seed. That’s despite winning 30 games, sweeping matchups against high majors and earning a No. 10 ranking in the last AP Top 25.
After 20 minutes, it was tough for even the thousands of vocal Iowa State fans to disagree with him.
The Phoenix shot 9 of 18 from 3-point range in the first half and forced the Cyclones into a staggering 19 turnovers.
Still, Iowa State was within four with 5:29 left in the half. But Green Bay closed it out on a decisive 20-4 run, as Bauer and Eichler each drained two 3s to make it a 19-point game.
“I think we definitely had a little chip on our shoulder,” Ritchie said. “We responded really well to being that seven seed. We just ran with it.”
The Cyclones made a push by closing within 55-44. But the Phoenix moved the ball around and found Eichler for a 3-pointer to push Green Bay’s lead back to 14 with 6:36 left.
Green Bay star Julie Wojta was held to 14 points, nearly six below her average. But that hardly mattered as the Phoenix spread the ball around at will, with 17 assists on 25 made buckets.
“They’re one of the best teams we’ve faced in this building since I’ve been here,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said.
Iowa State was in the NCAA tournament for the sixth year in a row. But the Cyclones sneaked into the field after losing to Kansas State in the Big 12 tournament, and they offered little proof they belonged there with such a sloppy effort protecting the ball.
Chelsea Poppens and Lauren Mansfield scored 11 points.
“It definitely started with their pressure,” Poppens said. “We kept turning the ball over. We just couldn’t handle that. That’s where they grabbed their energy and got their motivation.”
The Cyclones did have the support of their typically raucous home crowd. A small but vocal group of Phoenix fans made the trek down from Green Bay as well, with a few carrying signs reading “Yes We Can.”
“I think one of the fun things is silencing that great crowd,” Wojta said. “We were able to do that multiple times tonight. That’s as great as the noise.”