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Seminoles falter at the end

Iowa State holds FSU without a basket for 6:23 near the end of an 85-70 victory.

Once Angie Welle quit worrying about the defense, she was just fine.

Welle came back strong after a frustrating first half and scored 26 points as Iowa State beat Florida State 85-70 Sunday in the Midwest Region to reach the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year.

Welle, a 67 percent shooter, was 4-for-10 in the first half as Florida State did a good job challenging her shots. But she got free for some layups in the second half, made 7 of 9 shots and finished with 13 rebounds.

"They played tough defense and they're great shot-blockers, so maybe I was thinking about that too much," Welle said. "After halftime, I tried to relax and not concentrate so much on how they were playing me."

Megan Taylor made five three-pointers and finished with 22 points in her final home game for No. 2 seed Iowa State. The Cyclones (27-5) tied the school record for victories and play in the region semifinals Saturday at Denver.

Seventh-seeded Florida State (19-12) pulled off a major upset earlier in the season when it won at Duke. But the Seminoles could not work the same magic against Iowa State, which finished 62-2 at home in the careers of seniors Taylor and Erica Haugen.

"Getting there three years in a row, now you're talking about Tennessee, Connecticut _ I'm not putting us in that ballpark, don't write that down. I'm just saying it's not easy," Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. "I think we've done it with class and dignity representing our school and our fans. It's exciting."

The Seminoles made the Cyclones earn it. They cut a 13-point second-half deficit to five before Welle scored eight points during a 17-4 run that put it out of reach.

"They took advantage of our defensive mistakes," Florida State's Brooke Wyckoff said. "They just kept running the ball and hitting threes in transition, hitting threes off screens and pounding it inside."

The starters scored all but one point for Iowa State. Tracy Gahan had 14, Lindsey Wilson 13 and Haugen 9. Katelyn Vujas led FSU with 15 points.

Iowa State concentrated its defense on Wyckoff and April Traylor, mixing a triangle-and-two with its usual 2-3 zone. Traylor, who scored 30 points in a first-round win over Tulane, was scoreless the first 17 minutes and finished with 10. Wyckoff, averaging 14.8, scored eight.

"Brooke and April both have had off nights and we've had other players step up in their stead. We really didn't have that one player tonight," coach Sue Semrau said. "They played tremendous defense, not only on the two of them, but in the interior as well."

FSU closed to 57-52 on Petra Hoffman's three-pointer with 10:58 left but made only one shot over the next 6:23.