Pressure baffles Cyclones to an 0-4 start


Guard Nikki Moody attacks the Aggie defense as she brings the ball up the court. Moody put up five points and four assists in the Cyclones’ 59-33 loss to Texas A&M on Saturday, Jan. 14, at Hilton Coliseum.

Caitlyn Diimig

The first four games in the ISU women’s basketball team’s conference schedule have fatigued its offense en route to an 0-4 start against teams with a combined record of 52-11. 

High-pressure defense by Texas A&M led to poor decision-making and a 59-33 loss for Iowa State on Saturday at Hilton Coliseum.

“Our turnovers need to cut down,” said freshman Nikki Moody on Monday. “I think once we fix that, we’ll start hitting shots and we’ll start gaining confidence back.”

Moody’s inexperience showed as she committed 10 of Iowa State’s 18 turnovers on Saturday.

The Cyclones (9-6, 0-4 Big 12) now head out on the road to play Texas (11-5, 1-3) on Wednesday in Austin, Texas. Coach Bill Fennelly said he expects the Longhorns to have a “we’re better than you” attitude along with high-pressure man-on-man defense.

Fennelly is confident in Iowa State’s ability to defend against Texas, but not so much in his team’s offensive game. 

“I think defensively our numbers are fine,” Fennelly said. “I don’t have any problem with how we’re defending, but you have to score.”

Junior Chelsea Poppens leads the team in rebounds, averaging 11 per game. The Longhorns’ senior Ashley Gayle leads her team in rebounds, averaging 7.5 per game.

While Fennelly and his staff are confident in the Cyclones’ defense, Iowa State’s offense will be a point of emphasis if the team is to get its first win of the conference season.

The Cyclones are currently averaging 49 points per game while the Longhorns average 63 points.

Poppens and junior Anna Prins are the leading scorers for Iowa State, each averaging 12 points per game, but Texas sophomore Chassidy Fussell scores 15 points per game on average.

One bright spot for the Cyclones has been freshman Brynn Williamson, who has a 44 percent 3-point average in conference play.

“Brynn has definitely been a positive factor in the past few weeks,” Prins said. “She’s a really good shooter. The more opportunities we can give her the better.”

Staying positive is also key, Prins said, in order to deal with the team’s disappointing slow start.

“I think we all know that if we drop our heads now, there’s no chance,” Prins said. “In the Big 12, you really have no time to feel sorry for yourself.”

Fennelly’s comments following the loss to Texas A&M made it clear he and his staff are frustrated, but he and his players know the season is still young and the Cyclones will have a chance to redeem themselves and gain experience.

“No matter what, you have to be tough, and [we know] that when you go out on the floor, you have to play for more than just yourself,” Moody said. “You have to play for the team.”