Cyclones' Fennelly Helps Orchestrate Marriage Proposal

By Rob Gray, Reporter

Iowa State center Anna Prins (55) battles Kansas State guard Brittany Chambers (2) and forward Jalana Childs (33), obscured at rear, for the ball during the first half of the second round of an NCAA college women's Big 12 conference basketball tournament Thursday, March 8, 2012 in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Jeff Tuttle)


By Grant Burkhardt

AMES, Iowa — Iowa State forward Anna Prins blocked two Alabama State shots in Sunday’s 86-47 Cyclone Challenge-capping win at Hilton Coliseum.

There would be no further rejections.

After the game, Prins gasped as her boyfriend, Ryan De Hamer, dropped to one knee and proposed marriage at midcourt.

The 6-7 senior from Broomfield, Colo., said “I do” — and will face Texas in Wednesday’s 7 p.m. Big 12 Conference season opener three days engaged.

“I was crying,” said Prins, who has 71 career blocked shots. “I couldn’t have asked for a better place, just with all the people that were involved: Coach (Bill Fennelly), my team, the fans in Hilton, my family was there. Pretty special.”

So is conference play.

The Cyclones (9-1) started off 0-5 in the Big 12 last season but rebounded to win nine of their next 12 games to secure a sixth consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament.

“There’s nothing sentimental about the Big 12, I don’t think,” Fennelly said, chuckling. “We orchestrated it, I think, where the timing was good for everybody involved. He set the bar pretty high for all the other boyfriends.”

The Cyclones are 11-5 all-time in Big 12 home openers and face a Longhorns team (7-4) that’s lost three of four games, including an 86-63 setback to Iowa in San Diego.

“I’m not surprised Iowa beat them, I was surprised by the spread,” Fennelly said. “But with Texas, it’s the same roster of high school all-Americans. Their size is something very few teams can have and they offensive rebound like crazy.”

Prins averaged 10 points and 4.5 rebounds as ISU split with the Longhorns last season.

“They’re a Big 12 team, that’s enough said,” said Prins, who has scored in double figures seven times this season. “From here on out, the challenge rises.”

Fennelly said keeping Sunday’s surprise proposal under wraps — he didn’t even let his wife, Deb, in on the plan — also presented a challenge.

“There’s not very many times where I’ll admit there are other things more important than basketball,” Fennelly said. “That was one of those times. Fun to be a part of.”

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