Hallie Christofferson takes the reins of the new-look ISU women’s basketball


Hayley Hochstetler/Iowa State Daily

Hallie Christofferson shoots layups for the ISU women’s basketball media day Wednesday at the Sukup Basketball Complex. Christofferson was voted to the preseason All-Big 12 first team this season as a senior. As a junior, she averaged 15.6 points per game with 6.7 rebounds per game.

Alex Gookin

Before Hallie Christofferson stepped into the Sukup Basketball Complex on Wednesday to be surrounded by microphones, cameras and media begging to hear about her senior campaign, she was making national headlines.

The 6-foot-3-inch senior forward was named to the preseason All-Big 12 first team, an honor limited to the projected top five players in the Big 12. League coaches voted her and four others to the team earlier Wednesday afternoon.

So when coach Bill Fennelly took the microphone to start fielding questions, it was no surprise to hear Christofferson’s name mentioned early and often.

“I think she is maybe one of the best players in the country that people don’t know about,” Fennelly said of Christofferson. “She’s the face of our team this year, and she’ll be the senior that plays the most.”

The Hamilton, Iowa, native is coming off a junior season where she picked up First Team All-Big 12 honors and led the Cyclones in scoring and every shooting percentage statistic. Christofferson made the transition from small town high school basketball to Division I collegiate hoops look easy, and she isn’t letting off the gas pedal in her final season as a Cyclone.

“It’s quite an honor knowing that you come from such a small [town] and now you’re here at Iowa State,” Christofferson said of her journey. “But you still have to play each season to the fullest. You can’t just rely on the fact you are preseason Big 12 and then not go do your job on the floor.”

For the first time in four seasons, Chelsea Poppens and Anna Prins will not be suiting up for the Cyclones after being drafted in the WNBA draft last spring.

The front court duo averaged 25.7 points per game and 15.0 rebounds for the Cyclones last season. Fennelly said more than anything, the leadership and hustle plays made by the former Cyclones will be missed the most.

However, the incoming freshman class can be cause for some relief, as Iowa high school basketball star and top-50 national recruit Jadda Buckley offers big-play ability. The 5-foot-8-inch guard is a 3-point shooting specialist and averaged 14.0 points per game her senior season of high school in Mason City, Iowa.

She is joined by guards Seanna Johnson and Lexi Albrecht, along with forward Jordan Jensen for the 2013 recruiting class. 

Fennelly expects all of the freshmen to see the court this season.

The loss of Poppens and Prins makes for a much smaller team in body size, and Fennelly said the team will have to adjust it’s game plan to work around guard play this season. With a young, fast backcourt and a new look frontcourt, Christofferson knows her role will probably change from last season.

“We have all those smaller guards that can man the perimeter, so you will be seeing me more on the inside,” Christofferson said. “I’ve been a post player all my life, but last year when I stepped out on the perimeter more, I kind of weened away from the post moves. I think I’m really going to have to buckle down when I’m in the post just because I kind of have that perimeter guard mindset from last year.”

Although she is known as a quiet person, Fennelly joked Christofferson would score more points than words she said by the time she graduates. If that is the case, Fennelly doesn’t seem concerned about her leadership capabilities.

“It’s going to start with No. 5, this team will be built around her,” Fennelly said of Christofferson. “It’s a fun thing to do because she accepts that challenge, and she’s good enough to handle it.”