WBB: The Legend Of ISU's Chelsea Poppens Grows

By Rob Gray, Reporter

Iowa State forward Chelsea Poppens, left, fights for a rebound with Green Bay forward Adrian Ritchie during the first half of an NCAA tournament first-round women's college basketball game, Saturday, March 17, 2012, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

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By Grant Burkhardt

AMES, Iowa — Iowa State power forward Chelsea Poppens got a bloody nose.

And laughed about it.

That’s “Pop” — as the rest of the Cyclones call her.

The senior from Aplington takes an elbowing and keeps on scoring, rebounding, drawing charges, setting impenetrable screens …

“I didn’t even realize it was bleeding,” said Poppens, who notched her 23rd career double-double (23 points, 15 rebounds) in Sunday’s 84-65 season-opening win over feisty Western Illinois. “I just though it was, just normal. I didn’t even know what the ref was calling me up for.”

Not for many fouls.

Poppens — who also became the 23rd ISU player to surpass 1,000 career points — remained whistle-free well into the second half.

Her almost constant presence was needed, as the Leathernecks led 40-38 at halftime and the Cyclones misfired on their first 10 3-point attempts.

“I thought that was a very good college game; close game for most of it,” said ISU coach Bill Fennelly, who improved to 18-0 in season openers. “But we had Chelsea Poppens and they didn’t. And we might be saying that a lot.”

Poppens ended the 3-point shooting drought by draining her second career long range basket.

The Cyclones then dropped through eight of their next 13 from beyond the arc — four of which came in a span of 2:25 and helped turned a 58-55 lead into a 72-58 advantage.

Kidd Blaskowsky drained two threes during the spurt, while Hallie Christofferson and Brynn Williamson knocked down one apiece.

“We kind of had a stop on defense, then once one person hits, everybody kind of gets energy,” said Christofferson, who scored 12 of her 15 points in the second half. “Pass it around. Everybody keeps hitting.”

Anna Prins added 14 points, eight rebounds and a career-high four assists for ISU, which used a 23-5 run to pull away from Western.

Poppens not only topped the 1,000 points plateau, but also dived into sixth all-time in rebounds with 816.

“I was just hoping to make one point, at least, throughout the game,” Poppens joked. “I had a bunch of friends come out and support me. It was cool.”

Fennelly heartily agreed.

“The legend grows with her,” he said.

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