AMES, Iowa -- On a day when coach Bill Fennelly was honored for his 20 years at Iowa State, the Cyclones responded with one of their biggest upsets of his celebrated tenure.
Seanna Johnson made a go-ahead layup with 19 seconds left as Iowa State rallied from an 18-point deficit to topple third-ranked Texas 59-57 on Saturday.
"The magic of this program came out," Fennelly said. "It's an amazing effort by our team."
Nikki Moody had 17 points to lead Iowa State (11-3, 2-1 Big 12), which defeated a Top 3 team at home for the first time in 12 years.
Texas led by as much as 37-19 late in the first half. But Iowa State answered with a 38-13 run and the Longhorns went cold in the second half, hitting just 8 of 38 shots.
Brady Sanders had 16 points for Texas (13-1, 2-1), which held Iowa State to just Johnson's basket in the final 8:10 and still lost.
Texas let Iowa State erase its large lead in less than 10 minutes -- and Kidd Blaskowsky's 3 gave the Cyclones a 50-47 lead with 10:57 left.
Iowa State soon went cold though, and it had to rely on its defense to finish the win.
Texas scored just six points in a stretch spanning nearly 10 minutes in the second half until Brooke McCarty's 3 got the Longhorns within 57-56 Iowa State with 3:30 left.
McCarty, Sanders and Nneka Enemkpali all missed shots just before the buzzer.
Nekia Jones had 15 points off the bench for the Longhorns, who lost despite out-rebounding Iowa State 49-36.
"I think it's definitely going to serve as a gut check for us," Enemkpali said.
After a surprisingly narrow win over West Virginia in Austin, Texas looked primed to be upset.
Instead, the Longhorns had the Cyclones on their heels early.
Iowa State appeared to be finished late in the first half, especially considering that it blew a 24-point lead of its own in an 86-84 loss at TCU on Wednesday.
But the Cyclones responded with 14 unanswered points to make a game of it.
The Longhorns hit 7 of 11 3s in the first half despite ranking last in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage. Their luck dried up in the second half, as did their best start since 1986.
"I thought our defense was outstanding. Our kids bought into the plan," Fennelly said.
Texas: Sanders and Jones were just 8 of 40 on 3s in their first 13 games. But they combined to shoot 6 of 7 in the first half alone.
Iowa State: The Cyclones are 10-1 when holding opponents under 70 points.
Fennelly said the mood of his team changed when the Cyclones brought out his former players with just under 16 minutes left. "What we kept saying before the game, during the game was, 'All of those players ... have done so much for this school. So much for this team.' I challenged our players (and said) you want to be one of those players, five years from now, 10 years from now."
This was Iowa State's first victory over a top 10 team since 2009, but its fifth straight win over Texas. The Longhorns hit just 23 of 71 shots despite their hot start.
Texas plays at Oklahoma on Wednesday.
Iowa State plays at No. 5 Baylor on Tuesday.
- Mark Zentz
- Bryan Enterline
- Metta Roberts