No. 14 Iowa St. 82, No. 3 Oklahoma 66

Wednesday, January 16th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

AMES, Iowa (AP) _ A return home was all it took to shake Iowa State out its doldrums.

That and some torrid shooting.

Angie Welle scored 28 points and No. 14 Iowa State shot 78 percent in the second half in beating No. 3 Oklahoma 82-66 Tuesday night. The Cyclones (14-3, 2-3 Big 12) made a complete turnaround after losing two straight road games last week, including a shocking 17-point loss at Texas A&M.

``When we came running out for our warmup, I heard some fan up in the stands say, `Welcome home. We're here to help you,' '' Welle said. ``I almost started crying. I don't know if I've ever been so happy in my four years to just finally play back at home.''

It certainly seemed to suit Welle and teammate Tracy Gahan. Welle made 10-of-11 shots _ her only miss was an early 3-point attempt _ and Gahan was 8-for-13 in scoring 25 points. Gahan made 4-of-8 on 3-point shots and she and Welle both grabbed nine rebounds.

Lindsey Wilson added 16 points for Iowa State, which broke an 18-game winning streak for Oklahoma (14-2, 4-1) in conference play. The Sooners' last loss in a league game had been to Iowa State, 81-79 on Jan. 6, 2001.

Their only other loss this season had been to No. 1 Connecticut.

``They made shots,'' said Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale, now 0-7 against Iowa State. ``The game boils down to they made shots and we didn't. We got 70 attempts and they had 52 and look at the final score. Who made shots? They did.''

Iowa State took advantage of a technical foul to open a six-point lead late in the first half, then blew it open with its sizzling second-half shooting (18-of-23).

It was the highest ranked team that Iowa State has ever defeated. Connecticut was ranked fourth when it lost to Iowa State in the 1999 NCAA tournament.

``I think all of us feel we're back on track,'' Wilson said. ``Whatever was missing in Texas, we got back. We just need to keep everything intact and move forward.''

LaNeishea Caufield led Oklahoma with 24 points, Caton Hill had 17 and Stacey Dales 13. The Sooners shot 40 percent and were 4-of-20 from 3-point range.

Freshman Tracy Paustian hit two 3-pointers and Gahan one as Iowa State scored the first 11 points of the second half to open a 45-31 lead. Gahan also got a basket inside and hit another 3 to increase the lead to 52-35 with 14:01 left.

The outside shots forced Oklahoma out of its zone and that freed the 6-foot-4 Welle to go 1-on-1 against her defender inside. It was no contest. Welle scored four times in a 3-minute span, her last basket making it 62-42 with 9:33 remaining.

Oklahoma got no closer than 14 points the rest of the way.

``We went with our man defense and tried to find a way back in and they went inside to Welle and we didn't know how to guard her,'' Coale said. ``Still don't know. Got any ideas? E-mail.''

Iowa State never trailed after Wilson's 3-pointer with 6:11 left in the first half erased a 22-20 Oklahoma lead. Then, with Iowa State leading 28-26, a technical was called on the Oklahoma bench after Gahan made a short jumper.

Gahan made the two free throws for the technical to give Iowa State a 32-26 lead. Oklahoma got the lead down to 34-31 at halftime but was never that close again.

``I don't think there was a player or coach or anyone in this building who didn't have doubts about Iowa State before the game,'' Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. ``At halftime, those doubts were erased.''