Senior Night maintains ‘one game, one focus’


Photo: Jordan Maurice/Iowa State Daily

Chassidy Cole moves the ball down court against a Kansas defender on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at Hilton Coliseum. Cole leads the team with 11 assists, sharing point guard duties with Lauren Mansfield and Nikki Moody. 

Cory Weaver

One month ago, the Cyclones were finishing up a 2-6 record in January. Now, the women’s hoops team has flipped the script with a 6-2 record in the leap-year month with the NCAA tournament in sight.

“For us to be where we are, there’s always one or two games that you’d like to have back, and there’s one or two games that probably the other guy would like to have back, so it’s fun to be still in a position where you’re talking about doing some good things,” said coach Bill Fennelly in his weekly press conference.

The team took on Texas A&M on Jan. 29 and lost in the final moments of the game. After the loss, something clicked and Lauren Mansfield said it has been all about their mindset.

“We’ve been really focusing on [what] we need to get these wins, and we need to get back on track,” Mansfield said. “We had the February focus, and we’ve just been trying to get as many wins as we can.”

Fennelly has said throughout the season that the best players step up when their best is needed and seniors Mansfield and Chassidy Cole are not exceptions.

“They’re probably not the all-conference seniors that we’ve kind of become used to but they’ve contributed in a lot of different ways,” Fennelly said.

On Wednesday, the team and fans will honor both seniors in their final regular season home game as Iowa State (17-10, 8-8 Big 12) takes on Kansas State (18-10, 9-7). The Australia native Mansfield will have her parents in the stands for the first time as well, and Cole said the night will give her a little extra motivation.

“I think Lauren understands how much this game means to us and the fact that her parents are there, I think she’s going to want to play to her best ability and have them see that game and it being on senior night,” she said. “It’s just a plus.”

Currently, Iowa State is 8-8 in the Big 12 with just two games remaining. In recent years, an 8-8 record has been enough for an NCAA tournament bid. However, after the loss to Oklahoma State over the weekend, coach Jodi Steyer stressed the importance of Wednesday’s matchup.

“[She] kind of said to us after we lost the game at Oklahoma State she said to us ‘It’s now one game, one focus’ and we really need to get this win to finish the month off,” Mansfield said.

In terms of the Big 12 tournament, Iowa State has the chance to improve its seed with a win over Kansas State (18-10, 9-7). The Cyclones sit at fifth in the conference and with the Wildcats at fourth, a Cyclone victory would flip the standings, but Cole said that’s not in the back of her head.

“I don’t think so; I’m just mainly focused on beating them,” she said. “Just win this next game.”

The game tips off at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Hilton Coliseum. Senior Night festivities will follow the game where the team will attempt to solidify the No. 2 spot in the NCAA attendance rankings.