Cyclones thriving off Moody’s energy


Miranda Cantrell/Iowa State Daily

Junior Nikki Moody dodges an opponent during the Cyclones game against the Texas Tech Rangers on Jan. 8 at Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones won 74-48.

Alex Gookin

As his team huddled around him after 40 minutes of action, ISU women’s basketball head coach Bill Fennelly was looking for answers.

Two weeks before, his team was undefeated and sitting at the top of the Big 12 race. Now, the Cyclones sat on a four-game losing streak and were headed into overtime against a team who hadn’t won a Big 12 game.

On the first possession of overtime against Texas Tech, junior guard Nikki Moody took matters into her own hands. She sank a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired on that opening possession to energize a team that lacked energy in its four losses.

The energy Iowa State lacked in their four losses was brought back to life in Moody’s overtime outburst as she scored nine of the team’s 13 points to propel the Cyclones to their first win in two weeks.

“When she hit that 3 as time was expiring for the shot clock, I think it gave everybody a little extra motivation and confidence,” said senior forward Hallie Christofferson. “Her play was definitely what we needed and it showed at the end [of the game].”

In the loss to Oklahoma on Jan. 21, Fennelly applauded Moody for her effort saying she seemed to be the only one that showed up to play. Her 16 shot attempts were the most of anyone on the floor as she led the team in points and assists.

Against Texas Tech, Moody got some help as all five starters scored in double-digits for the first time all season. Perhaps even more impressive than her nine overtime points were her six assists which helped her account for 34 of the team’s 85 points.

“Before the team went into the locker room, I pulled her aside and said, ‘If you play like that the rest of the season, this team is pretty good,'” Fennelly said. “That was as good a 12 minutes as any point guard has ever played here.”

With former Cyclone stars like Lyndsey Medders and Stacy Frese, being labeled as “the best,” if only for 12 minutes, is no small compliment. However, Moody is focused on the result on the scoreboard and not on the stat sheet.

After falling to West Virginia at home less than two weeks ago, the Cyclones hope to steal a win on the road from the Big 12’s second-place team, the Mountaineers. Christofferson provided a large chunk of the offense in the first meeting between the teams, but Moody hopes to be a leader if and when West Virginia pressures Christofferson.

“Hallie is the biggest leader on the floor and if they are double or triple-teaming her, I have to step up,” Moody said. “Hopefully I can get the ball to draw more people towards me so we can get her more open.”

The Cyclones also hope to defend the perimeter better, as West Virginia outscored the Cyclones 36-to-6 from behind the arc. Fennelly emphasized that limiting mistakes defensively and confidence in shooting would be keys to the game.

The contest will be Iowa State’s fourth top-25 matchup of the season when the No. 23 Cyclones take on the No. 20 Mountaineers at 6 p.m. Jan. 29 in Morgantown, W.Va.