Big XII: Wrap-Up Part 1: Iowa State Savors Moment In Sun

By Jean Neuberger - March 09, 2007

Iowa State Coach Bill Fennelly walked into the press room with an ear-to-ear grin. Never mind that the Cyclones had one really tough game ahead. Never mind that one of his stars, Megan Ronhovde, was walking into that same press room with an iced-up left ankle. This was one of the biggest and most significant wins in the history of the program, and Fennelly and his players were going to savor the moment.

"Obviously, we're estatic to still be playing, to be playing in the championship game," said Fennelly. "Our team has shown an ability to be resilient when at times we weren't earlier in the year, making big plays, making shots and people contributing."

Iowa State won this game with great shooting, a new focus on rebounding (they won the battle of the boards 34-33 over the taller, stronger Aggies), and enough heart and guts to never stop fighting.

Fennelly credits his seniors...Lyndsey Medders, Megan Ronhovde, and Abby Reinart, with the leadership that keeps this team going.

"Seniors get it done at the end of the season and they're doing it for us right now," Fennelly said.

Once the press conference was over though, the Cyclones lost their serious tones and went right back to being jubiliant. Fennelly was all smiles, shaking my hand as I congratulated him.

"Thanks a lot," he said. "I'm thrilled to be here. No one thought we'd get here."

When I mentioned that we at did pick his team as the darkhorse, he grinned again from ear-to-ear.

"We appreciate someone watching and believing in us," he said.

Following him back into the arena was Medders, a certain unanimous pick for the All-Tournament team. She looked as if she'd run a double marathon, but you couldn't take the smile off of her face, and high fives had to be exchanged.

Then, I ventured into the Cyclone locker room, as Ronhovde was being taped. Even with trainers taping her and icing her down, she still wanted to talk about the we did a quick interview (which will be the next post here at She's On Fire).

Heading back into the arena, the Cyclones were greeted with a huge ovation by their fans, who were busy buying tickets for the title game on Saturday in between basketball games. It was well deserved. This is a team that asked for respect, and got it the hard way. Now, they take that newfound respect and confidence on Saturday and put it to the test against the biggest challenge they've faced: Oklahoma.

Posted by Jean Neuberger at 01:09 AM on March 09, 2007

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