Women prep for pivotal home games as postseason nears


Photo: Grace Steenhagen/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State guard Lauren Mansfield looks for a teammate to pass to. The Iowa State Women’s basketball team defeated Iowa, Wednesday, Dec. 7, with a final score of 52-46. 

Cory Weaver

With just more than half of February already gone, the ISU women’s basketball team has earned three of its five conference wins during the past 15 days.

This week, the Cyclones (14-9, 5-7 Big 12) begin a pivotal three-game stretch at Hilton Coliseum that coach Bill Fennelly said is their most important homestand yet.

“To see where this season ends up, wherever it ends up, we’ll be able to evaluate pretty heavily after the Missouri game if there are still possibilities or we’re definitely in scramble mode,” Fennelly said of his team’s postseason hopes.

“You’re looking at 5-7 now and you could be 8-7 or you could be anywhere below that, so there’s great possibilities and at least you have a chance.”

Iowa State will face its first opponent of that stretch Wednesday night against Kansas, followed by Oklahoma on Saturday and Missouri the following Tuesday.

Both the Sooners and Jayhawks (17-7, 6-6) beat the Cyclones earlier this season, but ISU guard Lauren Mansfield said they are eager for their second chances against both.

“I know [against] Oklahoma we played terrible that game, we lost by about 30,” Mansfield said. “So we’re definitely ready to have another shot at them and then obviously Kansas as well. We lost in a close game, so I think we’re very determined to have another shot at them.”

In their last meeting, Kansas and Iowa State were tied in the rebounding battle up until overtime. The Cyclones went on to get out-rebounded 11-4 during the two extra frames, and all team members will have to help out inside the paint against that Jayhawks on Wednesday.

“I think we’re going to have to be more aggressive toward the ball and not let the ball bounce when it comes off the rim, and everybody’s going to have to rebound, not just the post players,” said forward Hallie Christofferson.

The team heads into Wednesday’s matchup following a road loss to Texas Tech, where the Cyclones shot just 27.1 percent from the field.

Earlier this season, the Cyclones went on a five-game conference losing streak where they failed to bounce back after poor shooting nights. However, Mansfield is confident practice will do the trick so they don’t fall into a funk again.

“I think we just need to get in the gym and see our shots going in, just get that confidence up,” Mansfield said. “Shoot well in practice and that will just lead into the game.”

Kansas will be forced to play without leading scorer Carolyn Davis due to a knee injury in its last game against Kansas State on Sunday. Fennelly said, however, his team will still need to find its niche on the offensive end.

“I think for us it’s a matter of having an identity offensively, finding ways to score, continue to be focused on our plan defensively and hopefully that will continue,” Fennelly said.

As Fennelly said, these next three games could be a teetering point for their season and NCAA tournament hopes. However, all the opportunities are there and Fennelly is optimistic about the future, just like Jim Carrey in his 1994 comedy flick.

“It’s like the ‘Dumb and Dumber’ movie, ‘You’re telling me there’s a chance,'” Fennelly said. “Hopefully there’s a chance for us to do some things.”

Wednesday night’s game tips off at 7 p.m. at Hilton Coliseum.