Cyclones prepare to face Cowgirls


Photo: Tim Reuter/Iowa State Daily

Kelsey Bolte looks for an opening in the Tiger’s defense Saturday at Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State beat Missouri with a score 71-56.

Kelsey Jacobs

No. 22 Iowa State will face its next Big 12 opponent when it hosts Oklahoma State on Wednesday.

The Cyclones (15-5, 3-3 in Big 12) are coming off two consecutive wins, the latest when the team routed Missouri 71-56 on Saturday.

“In the Missouri game, everyone was there with points and rebounds,” said sophomore Chelsea Poppens. “Everyone came together and we played as a team. It was just big.”

The Cyclones had previously struggled with scoring, depending mostly on point guard Lauren Mansfield and senior Kelsey Bolte.

Against Missouri, Mansfield and Bolte had 14 and 12 points respectively, but freshmen Hallie Christofferson also stepped up with 18 points. Poppens chipped in 12 points and 19 rebounds.

Wednesday the Cyclones will have the chance to go above .500 in Big 12 play as they take on Oklahoma State (13-6, 1-5). Unlike the Cyclones, the Cowgirls are coming off two losses, including an 82-77 loss to Oklahoma on Saturday.

Losing wasn’t the norm for Oklahoma State at the beginning of last year’s Big 12 play, as the team started the Big 12 5-1 instead of this year’s 1-5.

This is due, in part, to the graduation of Cowgirl go-to player Andrea Riley, who was recognized as the nation’s top collegiate point guard in women’s Division 1 basketball. Riley was also the nation’s second-leading scorer with 26.7 points per game.

“The last three years have always been holding Riley under 25 [points],” Bolte said. “It’s going to be completely different having to scout all five girls and knowing which player does what.”

Now that Riley is gone, Oklahoma State brings a much more balanced roster, with four players averaging more than eight points a game. The team has also been changing up its starters so much that only two players have started all six Big 12 games so far.

The Cowgirls are shooting just 34.9 percent from the field this season, but the team is averaging just fewer than 18 offensive rebounds per game.

“[The biggest issues are] their changing defense, their athleticism on the backboard and just trying to figure out ways to handle their personnel that is very different,” said coach Bill Fennelly.

The Cyclones will take on the Cowgirls at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Hilton Coliseum.