No. 13 Iowa St. 59, Colorado 41

Iowa State had ailing senior guard Alison Lacey for all of two

seconds on Saturday.

Lacey’s teammates stepped up in her absence, allowing the

Cyclones’ star some much-needed rest heading into the Big 12

tournament.

Kelsey Bolte scored 19 points, freshman Anna Prins added 12 and

No. 13 Iowa State beat Colorado 59-41 Saturday to lock up the No. 2

seed for next week’s conference tournament.

The Cyclones (23-6, 11-5) did it all minus Lacey, who has been

battling a bronchial illness and is day to day.

Lacey started as a ceremonial gesture on Senior Day, but Iowa

State fouled immediately so Lacey could get off the floor as

quickly.

“Having (Lacey) in the building, everyone was smiling a little

bit. We did what we did to start the game so she could have her

moment to start,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said.

The rest of the Cyclones took over from there, grabbing the lead

just over three minutes in and never giving it back. Iowa State

leaned on Bolte and the freshman post duo of Prins and Chelsea

Poppens to push back the struggling Buffaloes (13-16, 3-13).

Colorado got as close as 47-41 with 6:59 left, but Bolte nailed

a 3 and Prins hit a layup to highlight a 12-0 run to close the

game.

Poppens added 10 points and nine rebounds for Iowa State.

Alyssa Fressle had 10 points to lead Colorado (13-16, 3-13),

which finished the regular season with 11 losses in 12 games. The

Buffs will be the 11th seed in the conference tournament.

Brittany Spears hit a pair of layups in the final 22 seconds to

pull the Buffs within 28-24 at the break. The Cyclones jumped back

ahead by double digits midway through the second half, though, as

Bolte buried a 3 and Amanda Zimmerman hit a layup in the paint to

push the lead to 45-35 with 10:47 left.

Iowa State held the Buffs to 15-of-55 shooting from the field,

and none of their baskets came in the final 6:59.

“We all knew that we that we had to play harder and we had to

get it done and finish the game out,” Iowa State guard Denae

Stuckey said.

Spears, Colorado’s leading scorer, had eight points in just 13

minutes. Fennelly said Spears told him after the game that she

wasn’t feeling well.

It turned out to be a smart move to rest Lacey against the

Buffs, because Iowa State had enough to get by. Stuckey played well

in Lacey’s absence, scoring nine points with nine rebounds, five

assists and no turnovers.

There’s little doubt, though, that Lacey’s health will play a

key role in how far the Cyclones go in the postseason. Lacey led

Iowa State with 17.1 points and 6.5 assists per game entering the

finale, and her assist-to-turnover ratio of over 3-to-1 tops the

nation.

Lacey’s illness has left her fatigued and with some trouble

breathing. Since the Cyclones were already assured of an

all-important bye for next week’s Big 12 tournament, there was

little sense in risking Lacey’s health in the regular-season

finale.

Lacey scored a season-low eight points in a win over Kansas

State last Saturday. By the middle of the week, she was so sick she

didn’t even make the trip for Iowa State’s 78-70 loss at No. 20

Oklahoma State on Wednesday.

“I’m getting better each day,” Lacey said. “Don’t know when

I’ll be back. Just depends on how well I recover.”

Though Lacey’s health is improving, there’s no timetable for her

return. Iowa State’s next game will be on Friday in the Big 12

tournament in Kansas City.

“I really don’t know. This is the first time I’ve seen her

upright,” Fennelly said of Lacey. “She’s hoping. She’s still

hurting a little bit. But she told me that she really obviously

wants to play and expects to play.”