Women aim to rediscover winning ways

Rick Kerr

The ISU women’s basketball team will attempt to remain undefeated at home in conference games this Sunday when they host the Missouri Tigers at Hilton Coliseum.

The Cyclones (6-8, 1-2 Big 12) are hoping to get back on the winning track after falling to No. 4 Kansas State on Wednesday night, 68-60. The loss was Iowa State’s fifth loss by eight points or less.

After cutting a 10-point deficit to one with about five minutes left, the Cyclones ran out of juice, giving up eight straight points in the last three minutes.

After coming so close to beating a top-ranked team on the road, ISU head coach Bill Fennelly is looking at the bright side. “Our team doesn’t look for moral victories,” Fennelly said. “You always have a chance to win. The good news is we know that we can compete.”

ISU sophomore guard Anne O’Neil agrees with her coach.

“Everyone has their confidence up now. We are definitely very focused,” O’Neil said. “We looked over the film to see how we can execute better against Missouri.”

The Tigers (6-7, 0-2) remain winless in the conference following a 70-59 loss to No. 20 Texas on Saturday. They were led by senior guard Kerensa Barr, who tallied 14 points and five assists, but also committed seven turnovers. Barr is the team’s second-leading scorer this season with 12.2 points per game, following junior forward Evan Unrau, who averages 15.2 per game.

Fennelly knows his team will have their hands full with the two star Tigers, as well as the rest of the Missouri squad.

“They have two all-league caliber players,” Fennelly said. “Their strength is rebounding, which is our weakness. We match up well. There’s no real size advantage, but they are a little deeper than us.”

He also feels that this game is especially important, as both teams are trying to establish themselves as contenders in the Big 12.

Missouri leads the all-time series 39-15, but Iowa State won both meetings last season, highlighted by an 87-61 Cyclone win at Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 30, 2002.

Iowa State seems to have the touch when it comes to playing Missouri. The Cyclones have won 13 of the last 14 meetings, including the last nine.

But O’Neil said the past has nothing to do with the present. “I’m sure nobody on the team has any idea about streaks,” O’Neil said. “We just have to go out there and stick to our guns. We just have to concentrate on playing the full 40 minutes.”

Fennelly wants to continue his winning ways against the Tigers. He holds a 13-3 career record versus Missouri. Playing at home should definitely give his team a good chance at ten-straight wins against Missouri.

“We will have a great crowd at Hilton, like we always do,” he said. “It should be a real great game.”