SPOKANE, Wash. – Chelsea Poppens scored 19 points, Hallie Christofferson scored 11 of her 18 in the second half, and fifth-seeded Iowa State ended No. 12 seed Gonzaga's dominance at home in the NCAA women's tournament with a 72-60 win over the Bulldogs on Saturday.
Gonzaga went 4-0 the past two seasons playing on its home floor at the McCarthey Athletic Center during the NCAAs in reaching the round of 16. Iowa State (24-8) finally solved beating Gonzaga at home thanks to dynamic shooting from behind the 3-point line and an awful shooting performance by the Bulldogs.
Brynn Williamson hit five 3-pointers and scored 17 points for the Cyclones.
Taelor Karr led Gonzaga (27-6) with 15 points, but the Bulldogs shot just 32 percent.
Iowa State advanced out of the first round for the first time since 2010, when it won twice at home and reached the regional semifinals before falling to Connecticut. The Cyclones outlasted the Bulldogs despite committing 23 turnovers and having to play before a raucous pro-Gonzaga crowd that crammed nearly every spot of the 6,000-seat arena.
The Cyclones made up for the turnovers by hitting 3s from deep and challenging Gonzaga's shots. Iowa State hit nine 3-pointers — including four in the first half from Williamson — and held Gonzaga to just 27 percent shooting in the second half. Williamson averaged just 8.3 points per game during the regular season, but her outside shooting was critical. Her defense was important also, matched up against Karr most of the game.
Gonzaga was a nearly 43 percent shooting team during the regular season, but they were not immune from slumps. Four times during the regular season, the Bulldogs failed to shoot at least 35 percent at home. They were 1-3 in those games.
Haiden Palmer was the only other Gonzaga player in double figures with 14 points, but was just 1 of 8 on 3s. She did have 10 steals.
Leading by three at halftime, Iowa State scored the first six points of the second half to take its largest lead at 40-31 with 18 minutes remaining, only to go nearly 6 minutes without making a field goal. Iowa State committed another five turnovers and missed five straight shots before Nikki Moody finally broke the drought with a 3-pointer. Karr immediately answered on a backdoor cut while being fouled for a three-point play with 12:04 left to cut the Cyclones lead to 45-42.
Out of a timeout, Christofferson hit a corner 3-pointer, followed by five straight points from Anna Prins and another 3 by Williamson to push the Cyclones lead back to nine. Poppens then scored in the paint, and after a Gonzaga turnover, Poppens scored off a rebound for a 60-49 lead with 7:45 left.
The Bulldogs had one final run left, pulling within 62-57 with 2:52 left after a pair of free throws from Shaniqua Nilles. Following a shot clock violation by Iowa State, Nilles had an open 3 rim off and Christofferson hit a pair of free throws with 1:37 left to push the lead back to seven. Iowa State was a perfect 10 of 10 at the free throw line in the final 92 seconds.