Women’s hoops tries to keep rolling

Cory Weaver

Whether it is a positive or a negative, Bill Fennelly’s squad has become accustomed to having big second halves this season.

“It definitely has become a second nature but it’s not something we want to [do],” said freshman Brynn Williamson. “You don’t ever want to have to wait until the last five minutes and pull together but it really showed how much of a team we are to comeback after being down the whole game.”

The ISU women gained their eighth conference victory of the season Tuesday night against Missouri. Of those eight wins, the Cyclones (17-9, 8-7 Big 12) have trailed four at halftime, and Chelsea Poppens said staying focused when they are down helps them get back up.

“Just keeping our mindset that we need to come back in the second half,” Poppens said. “Just the rebounding to help pick up your teammates and make hustle plays.”

In the first half against Missouri, the Iowa State shot just 24 percent from the field but still found a way to keep the game close enough so the deficit was not too large to overcome in the second half.

When every player was struggling to get shots to fall, confidence was at a low. After pulling out a win from such a poor shooting night, Williamson said it gives them the confidence that they can win under any circumstance.

“Three weeks ago, we wouldn’t have won that game,” she said. “Three weeks ago, we would have been a team that would have folded in the first ten minutes when Missouri got up, so yeah it shows that we’ve grown a lot but we just don’t want it to become a habit.”

On Saturday, the Cyclones will face Oklahoma State on the road for their first away game in over a week.

Last time around, the Cyclones struggled offensively as well, just 27 percent on the game. More importantly, they held OSU leading-scorer Liz Donohoe to four points by contesting every shot.

Lauren Mansfield said the game plan will not change.

“Just kind of staying up in her and making sure she doesn’t get open looks,” Mansfield said.

The “one month, one focus” mentality has stuck with the team in February and has produced a 6-1 record for the month thus far. With Oklahoma State (13-11, 5-10) on Saturday and Kansas State on Wednesday to close out the month, the Cyclones will face two teams they have beat before this season.

Wins against both teams would produce an 8-1 record in the leap-year month.

Williamson said she hopes it would give them enough momentum for an upset over No. 1 Baylor to end the regular season.

“Especially with our energy and how close we came last game to them with 12 points, we know that we’re capable of it,” she said.

Saturday’s game at Oklahoma State tips off at 7 p.m. in Stillwater.