Cyclones return home to face Michigan


Photo: Manfred Brugger/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State’s Jessica Schroll runs with the ball during the Cyclones game against Wartburg in Hilton Coliseum on Sunday, November 7, 2010. The Cyclones won 61-40.

David Merrill

After a week in paradise, Iowa State will square off against Michigan as part of the Big Ten-Big 12 Challenge on Sunday at Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones went 2-1 in the Paradise Jam Tournament in the U.S. Virgin Islands, dropping a game to West Virginia.

Against Michigan, coach Bill Fennelly would like to see his team’s attention to detail improve, something that cost them in the loss to West Virginia.

“I told my team, we’re going to play a lot of teams like West Virginia,” Fennelly said. “Big, strong, athletic teams in our league and we need to be really precise in everything that we do. When we made a mistake, they made us pay for it.”

The Wolverines come in with a 4-3 record, fresh off 91-68 victory over Wake Forest. Michigan’s Carmen Reynolds led the way with 25 points. Reynolds is the second-leading scorer on the team behind Veronica Hicks, with Reynolds averaging 10 points a game while Hicks averages 11.

Senior ISU shooting guard Kelsey Bolte also noticed that the detail was lacking against West Virginia in the tournament.

“Just being aggressive with the ball,” Bolte said of improvements the team needs to make. “We’re going to have girls pushing us around all season, so that’s something we need to focus on; having confidence in your moves, things like that.”

Fennelly knows other Big Ten teams like to play a half-court style of offense and like to pound the ball inside. Michigan coach Kevin Borseth uses a different style of offense than the other teams in the Big Ten.

“They’re going to spread us out,” Fennelly said. “They run a lot of motion offenses and run a lot of different defenses.”

Because Michigan uses a lot of movement on offense, Iowa State may have to do some things differently on defense. It may force the Cyclones to play more of a man-to-man defense as opposed to the 2-3 zone that they are used to playing.

The Wolverines are clearly led by Hicks and Reynolds, but the other players are starting to get some experience in the system.

“They play almost like an international style,” Fennelly said. “Their [post players] go away from the basket and there is a lot of drive and kick. On defense, they make it hard to get the ball to the basket, so were going to have to make some shots.”

Sophomore guard Jessica Schroll watched Michigan beat Wake Forest on the Big Ten Network and picked up on a few things they are going to need to do defensively.

“I think they made 16 3-pointers,” Schroll said. “So we’re definitely going to have to guard the 3-point line.”

The Wolverines shot 66 percent from the field in the victory over Wake Forest. They are shooting nearly 36 percent from behind the arc so far this season.

Bolte and freshman forward Hallie Christofferson have gotten off to hot starts for Iowa State. The Cyclones have jumped out to a 5-1 record for the seventh season in a row. During the recent Thanksgiving week tournament, Bolte averaged 16 points and four rebounds during the three games. Christofferson finished the tournament with a 9-point, 5-rebound average.

Both were placed on the all-tournament team.

Through the team’s six games, Christofferson has pulled down a team-leading 41 rebounds, averaging seven rebounds per game. Bolte is helping out with the scoring, providing 17 points per game. Christofferson is also the team’s second leading scorer with 9.8 points per game.

Iowa State has won their last 51 regular season, non-conference contests at Hilton, where they are set to tip off against Michigan at 2:00 p.m. Sunday.