AMES, Iowa — Linda Stepney compiled a career-high 16 points but those were only part of the story for the West Virginia guard.
Stepney added six assists, committed zero turnovers and grabbed a team-best seven rebounds as the Mountaineers coasted to a 73-59 upset at No. 13 Iowa State.
“This was a great win for us against a very good Iowa State basketball team,” said coach Mike Carey, whose team also beat a ranked Cyclones squad at Hilton Coliseum last season. “It’s amazing for us. I’ll be honest with you, the last two years we’ve played better on the road than we have at home. I think we’re more focused on the road.”
West Virginia (15-2, 4-1) certainly focused on limiting Iowa State’s perimeter attack. The Cyclones (14-2, 3-2) came in averaging nine 3-pointers a game but went just 2-of-20 Wednesday night.
“We didn’t let them stand and make 3s,” Carey said. “I thought we took them off the spot on their 3s.”
With Iowa State’s defense sagging against Asya Bussie, West Virginia’s outside shooters found clean looks to go 12-of-30 from 3-point range. That included a 3-of-4 shooting by Stepney.
“The Stepney kid, two of her 3s were my fault because she had made four all year and we were going to play off of her,” said Cyclones coach Bill Fennelly.
Said Carey: “We shot better today from the perimeter than we have for the last three or four games. When Bussie got the ball, they had two or three people on her so it was people really stepping into their shot and getting good looks.”
Guards Bria Holmes (12 points) and Christal Caldwell (11 points) were the beneficiaries, while forward Averee Fields chipped in 10 points and five rebounds.
West Virginia, which has yet to crack the Top 25 this season, dominated the opening 20 minutes to lead 36-23, the first time Iowa State trailed at half this season.
“They’re a better than us and they showed it tonight,” Fennelly said. “They’re a team at the end of the year that’s going to be a tough out in the (NCAA) tournament. They have all the pieces to be a good team.”
After WVU stretched the lead to 16 early in the second half, the Cyclones chipped away to draw within 61-53 with six minutes left. But the Mountaineers responded with a 7-2 run down and later converted 5-of-6 free throws in the final 90 seconds.
“They jumped out early and we never could get some stops and get the lead,” said Hallie Christofferson, who led Iowa State with 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting and five rebounds.
Cyclones freshman guard Jadda Buckley finished with 15 points and six rebounds, while Nikki Moody chipped in eight points and five assists, though she made only 3-of-12 shots and committed five of ISU’s 11 turnovers.
“Nikki did not play well,” said Fennelly. “What we need her to do, like every point guard, is take care of the ball and have good shot selection.”
WVU shot 43.6 percent from the field and (13-of-18) from the free-throw line, while Iowa State shot 41.5 percent from the field and 13-of-15) from the foul line. The rebounds were even at 33, but the Mountaineers enjoyed a 16-2 edge in bench scoring.
“Every time we made a defensive mistake, they hit a big shot,” Fennelly said. “We guarded the wrong people, went to double team when we weren’t supposed to double team, switched some screens when we weren’t supposed to switch.”
WVU returns home for a matchup against Big 12 foe Oklahoma on Saturday at 2 p.m.