Cyclones gain momentum as they head into February


Photo: Tim Reuter/Iowa State Daily

Forward Chelsea Poppens retrieves a rebound during the Iowa State-Missouri game at Hilton Coliseum on Saturday. Poppens scored a total of 12 points and lead the team in rebounds with 19.

David Merrill

ISU coach Bill Fennelly recently called the remaining games on the schedule a 12-game season for the Cyclones. That approach seemed to have helped as the Cyclones are on a two-game win streak.

“We talked about a 12-game season after the Texas A&M game,” Fennelly said. “We got through the first two, and that’s where we’re going.”

Senior shooting guard Kelsey Bolte had one of her worst performances of the season in the win over Missouri. She managed to get 12 points but shot just 5-20 from the field, including an 0-7 mark from behind the 3-point line.

In past games, this would spell trouble for the Cyclones, but the past week has seen a turnaround from her supporting cast. Junior point guard Lauren Mansfield has scored in double figures in the last three conference games, and sophomore forward Chelsea Poppens pulled down a career-high 19 rebounds against the Tigers.

Freshman forward Hallie Christofferson also had one of her best games of the season, logging 18 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.

“It was great,” Bolte said. “I felt like every shot I missed fell into either Poppens’s or Hallie’s hands. Poppens had a great game. She’s one of the hardest workers on the team. She deserves to have a standing ovation when she comes out.

Mansfield thriving in conference play

Through the first six games of conference play, Mansfield is averaging eight points and four assists. She is impressing Fennelly in the way she is running the offense.

Point guard is the most critical position in Iowa State’s offense and was also the biggest question mark coming into the season. 

Since Mansfield has taken over the position, the questions about point guard have since ceased.

“Lauren has had a really good year,” Fennelly said. “She takes pretty good care of the ball, she’s a solid defender and she’s learned our system. The best position to play at Iowa State is the point guard; it’s the worst position to play too, and she’s been at both ends of it.”

Cole contributing off the bench

While she may not be the starting point guard, junior Chassidy Cole has shown why she is one of the team’s most valuable players. In the last two games, she has 13 assists and no turnovers. 

Her assist-to-turnover ratio is at the top in the Big 12 at 7-1.

“She’s made a huge difference in a lot of ways,” Fennelly said. “She’s assumed the role of our best defender. Accepting a role on the team is hard for a young person. You have to be willing to understand that I’m not going to be the star. I think her and Lauren play off each other really well.”