Women’s basketball: A season in review


The women’s basketball team huddles up as Coach Bill Fennelly talks to them during a time out for the 73-70 win against Oklahoma State on March 4, 2013, at Hilton Coliseum.

Stephen Koenigsfeld

It has been a season for the record books, to say the least, for Bill Fennelly and his band of Cyclones.

Iowa State (21-7, 12-6 Big 12) finished the regular season on March 4, 2013 with a victory against Oklahoma State. The victory was fitting for the way Fennelly’s company played all season.

Looking at the 2012-13 schedule, the Cyclones got off to a 13-1 start, which only included a loss on the road to the Hawkeyes (19-11, 8-8 Big Ten), who are most likely an NCAA tournament-bound team.

 Within that 13-1 start were two Big 12 victories to open the conference slate, the first an overtime victory against Texas and the second against Texas Tech on the road.

Road play did not hinder the Cyclones terribly, as they went 5-4 in conference play on the road. 

Breaking down the losses

Two of Iowa State’s six Big 12 losses came against Baylor, the No. 1 team in the country. Fennelly said before Baylor came back to Iowa State that it was a unique opportunity for his team. 

“It’s one of those games that everyone’s going to talk about,” Fennelly said before the Jan. 23 loss to the top-ranked Lady Bears. “Especially at home, those are special moments. … You don’t get to play the No. 1 team in the country very often.”

When those two losses are subtracted from Iowa State’s conference record, it is left with four more losses: At Oklahoma State on Jan. 20, at Kansas in double overtime on Jan. 30, West Virginia at home on Feb. 17 and at TCU on March 2.

Looking at the NCAA tournament, the loss to TCU was one that hurt Iowa State the most.

The double-overtime loss against Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., marked the third year in a row that the matchup between the two teams ended in extra time. 

Fennelly said that loss to Kansas was one of the toughest ones he has had to come to terms with.

“[I was] afraid to sleep because of nightmares,” Fennelly said, referring to the game in a Feb. 1 interview. “That’s OK, this time of year; my wife likes it when I’m in my office. It’s all part of it. 

“You just beat yourself up about what could’ve, should’ve, would’ve happened.”

When tallied up, three of the six conference losses were against the bottom half of the Big 12, two against No. 1 overall Baylor and the home loss to West Virginia (17-11, 9-8 Big 12), which is tied with Oklahoma State for fifth place in the Big 12.


Tourney time

Before the loss to the last-place Horned Frogs, the Cyclones were on their way to a potential No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament, according to experts at ESPN.

Since then, Iowa State had dropped to a No. 6 seed and was set to face No. 11-seeded Duquesne. 

Note that these predictions were made before the conference tournaments.

Some of the Cyclones’ biggest resume-building wins were season sweeps against Texas Tech (21-9, 11-7) and Oklahoma (21-9, 11-7).

Another highlight on the Cyclones’ season came in the form of tooth-and-nail victory against Oklahoma State in the regular-season finale on March 4. 

The icing on the cake was that the win against Oklahoma State was a dramatic one on senior night.

Senior Chelsea Poppens spoke of a past NCAA tournament game against UW-Green Bay and said the crowd at Hilton Coliseum hadn’t held that much enthusiasm since her freshman year.

“I haven’t heard Hilton that loud in a while — our freshman year,” said senior Anna Prins. “I was trying to call out screens and I couldn’t even hear myself. It was awesome.”

That “awesome” play will hope to carry over into the Big 12 tournament, which starts on March 8. 

The Cyclones grabbed the outright No. 2 seed for the Big 12 tournament with their victory against Oklahoma State.

Iowa State will play either Kansas or TCU at 6 p.m. on March 9.