Kim Smith goes up for a shot past Iowa State's Katie Robinette. (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian)
March 19, 2005
By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer
FRESNO, Calif. - Once Utah finally found its shooting touch, the Utes showed just why they are so dangerous from long range.
Kim Smith had 22 points and eight rebounds and 10th-seeded Utah rallied from a 15-point first-half deficit to beat Iowa State 73-61 in the first round of the Kansas City Regional on Saturday night.
Julie Wood made three 3-pointers after halftime to finish with 17 points and Shona Thorburn added 15 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and five steals for the Utes, who advanced to the NCAA tournament's second round for the third time in three trips and the second time in three years.
Utah (26-7) has won eight of its last nine and will play either top-ranked Stanford, seeded second, or No. 15 Santa Clara on Monday night. The Utes hosted the Cardinal for both teams' season opener Nov. 19 and Stanford won 63-57.
After shooting 33.3 percent in the first half, Utah made eight of its first 10 shots in the opening 5:31 of the second half, getting nine from Wood.
She converted three free throws with 16:40 left to pull the Utes to 39-35, then made a 3-pointer the next time down the floor to make it 41-38. Lyndsey Medders hit a 3 for the seventh-seeded Cyclones (23-7) moments later, but Wood then came up big again from long range to tie the game at 44 with 14:39 to play.
Smith's 3 from the top of the arc at 14:10 gave the Utes their first lead, then Thorburn's layin with 13:21 to go capped an 11-0 run that put Utah in control.
Smith, who shared Mountain West Conference player of the year honors, bounced back with a big game after being held to 10 points on 3-for-17 shooting in a loss to New Mexico in the conference tournament title game.
The Cyclones shared the national lead with their 8.8 3-pointers per game and were ninth in percentage (38.7). Utah, which led the Mountain West Conference, averaged 7.0 3s per game and shot 36.8.
It was a quick Fresno homecoming for Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly, an assistant at Fresno State during his early coaching days from 1981-86 - nearly two decades before the $103 million Save Mart Center was built.
The Utes, in their 13th NCAA tournament, defeated DePaul 73-64 in the first round in 2003.
The Cyclones, making their seventh tournament appearance as one of six Big 12 teams in the draw, also faced Utah in their first trip to the NCAA tournament in 1997, losing 66-57. Fennelly and Utes coach Elaine Elliott both were on the sideline for that game.
Utah came out sloppy and missed 12 of its first 17 shots, while Iowa State shot 53.8 in the first half and made 6-for-11 3-pointers for a 34-26 halftime lead.
The Cyclones boast that four players have navel rings and three are tattooed. Freshman guard Seirra Dawson has both.