Women’s hoops stay focused on February

Cory Weaver

As the regular season end is just three weeks away, the ISU women’s basketball team is facing a handful of must-win games.

All but one of its final seven opponents is outside the top 25 (Baylor is No. 1), but the team is still trying to stay away from the big picture by focusing on the month ahead.

“We don’t really think about that [NCAA Tournament potential], we just try to concentrate on each game,” said guard Lauren Mansfield. “This month, we’re definitely concentrating on February [by] just getting the things done and getting some wins during the month.”

On Sunday afternoon, Iowa State will face Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas. In their previous meeting this season, the Cyclones (14-8, 5-6 Big 12) snapped a five-game conference losing streak in the 66-49 victory, but Nikki Moody said they can’t take them lightly just because of the previous result.

“We know that they’re going to come back ready to play so we know that just because of the first game, we know that they’re still a great team so we still have to come in there and play,” Moody said.

During the past couple weeks, the team has been trying to keep up the focus it lacked during the first stretch of conference games in practices and credit that to its recent success.

“I think we’re coming in with the mentality that we have to get it done each day instead of the next day or the next day,” said forward Hallie Christofferson

When both teams squared off at Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 22, Kierra Mallard came into the game as Texas Tech’s leading scorer. Iowa State’s post play on the defensive end was able to hold Mallard scoreless and Christofferson said the game plan for her hasn’t changed.

“She’s a great post player so we’re going to try and limit that and make other people beat us,” Christofferson said.

Entering the game on Sunday, Chelsea Poppens leads Iowa State in not only points per contest at 14.7 but rebounds as well with 11.2.

The Lady Raiders (16-7, 4-7) are just second to top-ranked Baylor in rebounding margin (+7.7). Come Sunday, Mansfield said Iowa State will not only look for a big game from Poppens on the glass, but from the rest of the team as well.

“I think even bigger for us against a good rebounding team is have other people step up and rebound as well as the other big players and us guards need to help out as well,” Mansfield said.

Sunday’s afternoon matchup begins at 1:30 p.m. at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas.