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Iowa State lacks composure late, still learning ‘how to win’

After a mild energy took over the first half of the game, no one could have expected the fire and intensity brought onto the court by the Commodore women. Putting up a good fight and keeping the deficit to a minimum throughout the second half, the Cyclones still spiraled to defeat.

NCAA Womens Basketball: SEC Basketball Tournament- Vanderbilt vs Mississippi State Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Nashville, TN — With 1:47 left on the clock and a tied game at 72 points, the enthusiasm in Memorial Gymnasium was indescribable.

With fans holding their breath to see which of these teams was going to blow their minds, the Vanderbilt Commodores (3-6) demanded the victory they took home, clinging onto a 77-74 win against the Iowa State Cyclones (3-4) on Saturday afternoon.

The start of this game was off to a less exciting start than what one would have expected. As the ball was being passed between the players on both teams, there seemed to be a certain ferocity lacking. Then — that first three-point shot was made by Iowa’s Adriana Camber and the momentum of the game began to pick up.

The Cyclones organized themselves into what seemed to be an untouchable formation leaving the Commodores at a loss during the second period. Fighting to maintain a small deficit in the score, Vanderbilt was unable to use a strong enough offense to narrow the gap, leaving the score at 38-33 going into halftime.

Leading the Cyclones with a total of 10 points in the first half, Bridget Carleton was leaving skid marks on the court with her fierce intensity. Her momentum never found a chance to slow down, aiding her in keeping her teammates on their toes.

Vanderbilt’s Rachel Bell ran out on the court while radiating a new kind of energy after halftime though, ready to turn the score around in favor of her team.

“We knew we had to buckle down defensively, and that's what we did," Bell said.

This was the wake-up call Bell and her teammates needed to dwindle down the score to a tie by the middle of the third frame. Whipping the ball around the court and exerting a forceful spark, the Commodores were able to snag back the lead by five points, 62-57, and Memorial Gym was certainly feeling the heat.

“She does a good job of not just knocking down open shots, but is now a better decision maker,” explained Vanderbilt head coach Stephanie White.

With one minute left in the last period, the game was tied at 72. Vanderbilt guard Chelsie Hall knocked down a two-point jumper, putting the home team back in the lead. Iowa State needed to be on the top of their offensive plays in the final 20 seconds if they wanted a chance at taking home a victory.

Ultimately, Iowa State wasn't able to hit another shot and come back — something that head coach Bill Fennelly attributed to a lack of experience.

“With a young team, you’ve got to learn how to read first. We are learning how to compete, and now we have to learn how to win,” Fennelly said.

Iowa State's Carleton led all scorers with 30 points on 10-of-21 shooting, including 6-of-7 from the free throw line. Madison Wise added 14 points and Adriana Camber chipped in with 11 of her own for the Cyclones. Emily Durr dished out a team-high six assists in the defeat.

Bell led Vanderbilt with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting, followed by Hall who inched toward a triple-double with 16 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Cierra Walker and Christa Reed rounded out the Commodores double-digit scorers with 14 and 10 points, respectfully.

Vanderbilt’s Autumn Newby played huge on the board, pulling down a game-high 14 rebounds.

With the 77-74 victory under its belt as momentum, Vanderbilt will travel to nearby Louisville, KY to face the No. 4 Louisville Cardinals on Thursday, Dec. 7. Iowa State will host the Iowa Hawkeyes on Wednesday in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk series.

#VanderbiltUniversity takes Down #IowaState 77-74 with an incredibly close game!

Posted by Swish Appeal Staff on Saturday, December 2, 2017