Cyclones hope to halt losing streak

Matt Gubbels

Maybe a week off is what the ISU women’s basketball team needed.

The Cyclones (12-6, 1-4 Big 12) are coming off a three-game losing streak, of which the most recent loss was a 31-point rout at the hands of conference leader Kansas State last Wednesday. They also lost their second-leading scorer, junior forward Nicky Wieben, during the streak.

Coach Bill Fennelly said sometimes being away from basketball is a good thing.

“You hope Wednesday was an aberration that we played that poorly and the combination that we played maybe the best team in the league right now,” Fennelly said.

Iowa State hopes to bounce back from losses against a team they beat in a double-overtime battle on the road just under three weeks ago, the Colorado Buffaloes (13-6, 2-4).

Fennelly said there were two things the Cyclones struggled with in that game and have struggled with against the Buffaloes in the past.

“They’re one of the teams that we’ve always had trouble with their size even when we had Nicky and Toccara (Ross),” Fennelly said. “Their ability to score many different positions is something we have had trouble with, too, and that will be no different Wednesday.”

Sophomore guard Denae Stuckey, the team’s leading active rebounder at only 5 feet 8 inches, said the game may come down to who can control the glass.

“If we beat them in rebounding, we will have a really good chance,” Stuckey said.

At the center of a team that is likely to play four players 6 feet 3 inches tall or taller is a player Fennelly called “the best player in the country that no one knows about,” Colorado senior center Jackie McFarland.

McFarland, a 6-foot-3-inch power forward, is averaging 18.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while shooting 60 percent from the field – and those numbers have ballooned since conference play started. However, in a league with candidates for national player of the year like Andrea Riley and Courtney Paris, McFarland gets forgotten about at times.

“It’s just one of those players that’s probably not getting the national attention that she deserves,” Fennelly said. “She has had a phenomenal year to go with a phenomenal career.”

McFarland scored 28 points in the Jan. 13 matchup and registered double-doubles against the Cyclones twice last season.

Sophomore guard Alison Lacey said it’s hard to stop someone that good.

“She is hard to defend,” Lacey said. “We talked about taking away what she likes to do best and maybe she’ll have not as good of a game.”

Fennelly said one other key to the game is getting off to a better start. Iowa State has fallen behind by 15 points in the first four minutes of their last two games.

“The pregame speeches haven’t been very good,” Fennelly said. “I might just keep my mouth shut and let them go out there and play.”

Wieben surgery is successful

Fennelly also said at the Monday press conference that Wieben’s surgery on her ACL tear Thursday went well.

He said she has already begun the rehab process and that she is will probably be back in approximately six months.