Tiger victory could bring win streak to 3 for women’s hoops


Photo: Jordan Maurice/Iowa State Daily

Lauren Mansfield rushes down the lane toward the basket on Saturday night’s game against the Aggies. Mansfield gave a much-needed lift in energy during the second half.

Cory Weaver

Through the first 10 games of the conference season, the ISU women’s basketball team has yet to put together a win streak of three or more games.

That could change Wednesday when the Cyclones (13-8, 4-6 Big 12) head to Columbia, Mo., to face conference-winless Missouri. Senior guard Lauren Mansfield said they have to take them just as serious as anyone else.

“I just know we can’t back down and think, ‘Oh well, they haven’t won,'” Mansfield said. “We have to come ready to go and play our best to be able to win.”

The Tigers (10-11, 0-10) have gotten off to a slow start this season, but, like every other team the Cyclones have faced this season, have some players who can be game changers. ISU coach Bill Fennelly said Missouri’s post play will be a good matchup for Iowa State.

“We kind of went though a stretch where the other team’s best players were perimeter players,” Fennelly said. “I think now with Missouri, [Texas] Tech and then Kansas right after that, we’re going to see it’s the interior play that’s the strength of our opponents.”

Last season, Iowa State and Missouri squared off in Columbia in the regular season finale and the Tigers won 49-48 behind 11 points from Christine Flores. This year, Flores leads the team with 17.8 points per game and will pose a threat in the paint for the Cyclones.

On the offensive end, starting out slow with a big second half has become a common theme for the Cyclones recently. In the past two games, the Cyclones have outscored opponents 87-49 in the second half.

Chelsea Poppens said it all comes down to helping each other out.

“First half, we just start out slow because I think some people are nervous and we are all just getting our bodies warmed up,” Poppens said. “So when the second half comes, we come together, we talk to each other about what we have to improve on and it just fuels us to fix what we haven’t been doing first half.”

The Cyclones have had improved guard play recently as well, which Fennelly was quick to commend after the win against Oklahoma State last Wednesday.

He said Monday in his weekly news conference that Mansfield has been doing the little things to help that.

“I think it was a good sign and a good thing for coaches to be able to say to a team, ‘There’s a kid who went 1-for-10 and really had a big part in the success of our game,'” Fennelly said.

Mansfield recorded 11 assists in the come-from-behind victory against Texas on Saturday. Against a team that allows less than 12 assists per game, Mansfield’s passing ability could play a key role in Wednesday’s Missouri matchup as well.

This week, the Cyclones have a pair of road games against Missouri and Texas Tech before heading back to Hilton Coliseum next week.

If they can turn both those games into wins, it will put them at .500 in the conference at 6-6. Mansfield said staying focused will be very important, especially with three home games starting Feb. 15.

“Especially road games, when we go out they’re all tough opponents, so if we can get some wins on the road, and then to have more games at Hilton,” Mansfield said. “We just need to take it one game at a time.”

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Mizzou Arena and will be broadcast locally on Mediacom.