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Bill Fennelly wins 500th career game as Iowa State cruises

AMES, Iowa -- Watching as highlights of his career played out on the video board, Bill Fennelly fought back tears one moment and chuckled at himself the next.

Especially when he saw himself in suspenders.

"I do look a lot older," the Iowa State women's basketball coach said after earning his 500th career victory. "The suspenders are a little shaky. But back then, it was cool to wear them."

Fennelly reached the milestone when the Cyclones (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) beat Drake 64-46 on Monday night. He became 24th active coach in Division I women's basketball with 500 victories.

"To be on a list like that is cool," Fennelly said. "It says that for some part of your life you've done something right. You've surrounded yourself with great people and you've had tremendous family support.

"It's a great number and I've very proud of it and very proud of the fact that I did it at two places, two places that really care about women's basketball," he added.

Fennelly is now 500-202 in 23 seasons, including 334-149 mark in 16 seasons with the Cyclones. He coached at Toledo before moving to Iowa State, which had never played in the NCAA tournament before he arrived.

Since then, the Cyclones have been in the NCAAs 11 times, including five appearances in the regional semifinals and two in the regional finals.

"He means a lot to all of us," said Kelsey Bolte, the team's only senior. "It's kind of like everyone describes on the film -- it's not just about basketball here. He influences our life on and off court, whether it's with our personal lives or schoolwork or if it's basketball-related.

"He's always going to be there for us," Bolte said. "He'd do anything for each and every one of us on the team. I'm honored to be here. It's a privilege."

Bolte scored 16 points to lead the Cyclones (2-0), who used a pair of 16-2 runs to break the game open after trailing 14-12.

Anna Prins added 13 points for Iowa State, Lauren Mansfield scored 11 to go with eight assists and freshman Hallie Christofferson grabbed 14 rebounds.

Kristin Turk's 14 points led Drake (1-1), which shot 30 percent and missed 22 of 25 shots during a 19-minute stretch spanning halftime.

"We had no purpose on the offensive end," Drake coach Amy Stephens said. "Our cuts were soft, we didn't handle their physicality. We took more bad shots than I've seen. In the second half, it got worse. When we finally got good shots, we didn't hit them."

Bolte's 3-pointer capped Iowa State's first big burst, which put the Cyclones ahead 28-16. They led 32-20 at halftime, then started the second half with another 16-2 run that Mansfield finished with six straight points.

"What I told the players was I feel bad that what they did tonight to get to 2-0, the effort they put in to beat a good team, was kind of overshadowed," Fennelly said. "I hope there's some focus on what the players did."

What they did was help make it a special night for their coach.

"I was nervous because I really wanted to win here," said Fennelly, who had to stop a couple of times to collect himself while answering questions. "I wanted my family, my parents, my brothers and in-laws, so many people who have impacted my life, to be a part of it."