Poppens takes charges, control


Photo: Tim Reuter/Iowa State Daily

Forward Chelsea Poppens goes in for a layup against a Missouri opponent during the Iowa State-Missouri game Saturday. Poppens scored a total of 12 points and led the team in rebounds with 19.

Dan Tracy

Chelsea Poppens can’t explain it.

“I just like to rebound, I can’t really explain it,” Poppens said.

Bill Fennelly can’t explain it.

“I don’t know what happened to Chelsea Poppens, but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen someone get 19 rebounds and go after the ball the way she did,” Fennelly said.

The sophomore forward’s career-high 19 rebounds helped Iowa State control the paint as they beat Missouri 71-56. A Big 12 victory seems like enough of an explanation.

Poppens’ rebounding total, the fourth-highest in school history, was the highest of any Cyclone since Angie Welle grabbed 23 rebounds against Colorado on Feb. 9, 2002. The Aplington native is no stranger to pulling down double-digit rebounds as Saturday marked the 11th double-digit performance of her two-year career.

Even more impressive about Poppens’ rebounding total was that 10 of her 19 boards came on the offensive end.

“Offensive rebounds in the women’s game is about effort, it’s not above the rim, you’re not going to out-jump someone,” Fennelly said. “I always tell our players that a missed shot should be a pass to you, and Bolte missed a lot of them today so she gave Pop[pens] a lot of opportunities for offensive rebounds.”

On a night when senior guard Kelsey Bolte shot only 5-20 from the field, Poppens’ presence on the offensive glass helped the Cyclones register a season-high 22 second-chance points.

“To just shoot the ball and then here comes Pop out of nowhere, it’s awesome,” said freshman forward Hallie Christofferson.

Missouri forward Shakara Jones battled on the block with Poppens all day and came away with only seven rebounds.

“She goes to the boards relentlessly, she doesn’t stop, she makes counter-moves. So you might box her out one way and then she’s going the other [way],” Jones said. “She doesn’t let anybody stop her going to the boards.”

Another stat not always measured in the postgame statistics is offensive fouls forced. Poppens took three first-half charges, which helped the Cyclones take a 39-19 lead at halftime. Poppens has now taken 21 charges on the season.

“Those are the things that I’m pretty good at, and that’s what I work hard at,” Poppens said of her rebounding and charges taken.

After Saturday’s game, the team’s reaction to Poppens’ performance gave Fennelly a chance to see how his squad has come together as a team.

“When you really know you’re a team is when everyone in that room is so excited for Chelsea Poppens they can’t stand it and they forget what happened to them,” Fennelly said. “That’s where we’re headed, and when you see people have success, that’s a good thing.”