March 22, 2008
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Alison Lacey came through when Iowa State needed her the most.
Lacey hit a running shot in the lane with 47.4 seconds left and added two free throws to lift Iowa State past Georgia Tech 58-55 Saturday in the first round of the NCAA tournament in the Greensboro Regional.
Bolte’s long-range shooting, then hung on at the end to advance to a second-round game Monday night against Rutgers.
“Today was a microcosm of our season,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “We don’t look fancy, but we get the job done.”
Jill Ingram hit two three-pointers in an 11-2 run that drew 10th-seeded Georgia Tech (22-10) to 52-50, and the Yellow Jackets trailed 54-53 when Jacqua Williams scored on a follow shot with 2:43 to play.
Tech then misfired on two chances to take the lead, Williams getting her shot blocked by Jocelyn Anderson and Alex Montgomery missing an open three-point attempt.
That’s when Lacey delivered, spinning in the lane for a bucket with one second on the shot clock to put ISU up 56-53. After Ingram scored on an easy drive down the lane to make it a one-point game again, Williams fouled Lacey going for a steal with 12 seconds left and the sophomore from Canberra, Australia, made both free throws. She finished with nine points.
Williams missed a three-point shot while closely guarded by Lacey, and Iowa State tipped the Yellow Jackets’ final shot, sending the Cyclones into the next round.
Bolte hit five straight three-pointers in the second half and finished with 19 points to lead Iowa State, which improved to 7-2 in first-round games. Anderson scored 12 points and Amanda Nisleit added 11 points and 12 rebounds.
“In the first half, I was nervous,” Bolte said. “At halftime, my teammates kept telling me to shoot. There were so many fans here supporting us, it helped build my confidence.”
Ingram led Georgia Tech with a career-high 21 points, 17 in the second half. Williams had 18 points, eight rebounds and three steals.
With the ISU campus only 35 miles to the north, it was essentially a home game for the Cyclones, who rank fifth nationally in attendance at 9,388 per game and had nearly that number of cardinal- and gold-clad fans in the stands.
They didn’t have much to cheer during a turnover-plagued first half, which ended with the Cyclones down 24-20. Tech created a lot of havoc with its trapping, pressing defense and would have been in control except for some horrible shooting.
The Yellow Jackets missed 19 of their first 23 shots and were just 10-for-37 in the first half, including 1-for-15 from three-point range.
“I kept telling them in the timeouts I really felt we were fine,” said Joseph, Tech’s coach. “I thought our defense could get us back in the game and our kids bought into that.”
Iowa State took much better care of the ball in the second half, reducing its turnovers from 12 to six, and when the three-point shots started falling, the Cyclones pulled ahead.
Bolte had four three-pointers, while Nisleit made one and converted a three-point play to lead a 22-5 run that put ISU up 42-29. Heather Ezell’s three made it 50-39, but Tech then scrambled back and made it a game.