No. 20 Iowa State’s starting five look to power Cyclones past early start time, Sooners

Iowa State redshirt senior guard Alexa Middleton drives to the basket during the first half of the Iowa State vs Oklahoma State women’s basketball game Friday in Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones defeated the Cowgirls 89-67.

Jack Shover

On Wednesday, No. 20 Iowa State faces Oklahoma for the earliest game Iowa State has had all season.

With a 10:30 a.m. tipoff, Iowa State’s starting five will look to power past the Sooners for a regular season sweep of Oklahoma with Big 12 seeding on the line.

“I mean, it’ll definitely be different — it’ll feel kinda like AAU [Amateur Athletic Union] days,” guard Alexa Middleton said. “Coach [Bill Fennelly] has texted us the past two or three days at 10:30 on the dot saying ‘tip-off.’”

Fennelly said by texting the team at 10:30 a.m. every day, he hopes to have the team in the right mindset Wednesday morning.

If the team plays poorly, Fennelly said the blame can be put on the Cyclones’ performance and not the early start time.

“At the end of the day, it’s a very important game whatever time we play it,” Fennelly said.

Earlier this season, Iowa State beat Oklahoma 104-78, but the Cyclones and freshman guard Ashley Joens aren’t taking the Sooners lightly.

Joens said any team in the conference can play, and the Cyclones can’t dwell on their past games.

During Iowa State’s last game on the road versus Texas Christian University, Iowa State fell 76-69 despite beating them 92-54 earlier in the season.

Middleton said the team takes a lesson from each loss, and against TCU they failed to make shots and consistently score.

Against TCU, Fennelly said the bench failed to support the team’s scoring when members of the starting five fell into foul trouble.

Fennelly said the starters have been playing well, but the team needs more consistency from the bench players to avoid losses like the one Saturday against TCU.

“I think [the starters] are playing really well [together],” Middleton said. “I mean it’s nice to have Kristin [Scott] come in and stretch the floor. She shoots really well — first in the conference percentage-wise.”

Iowa State averages 81.6 points per game, which ranks second in the Big 12 after Baylor, who averages 81.8. Of those points, the Cyclone starting five, which consists of Joens, Middleton, Bridget Carleton, Kristin Scott and Madi Wise, contributes to 79.7 percent of those points.

Joens said the key against Oklahoma is executing the scouting report, which is how the team was able to win handedly in their first meeting.

With a win, Iowa State will gain an ever-valuable Big 12 conference win. Iowa State is currently 9-4 in the conference with the team holding a tiebreaker over West Virginia, who is also 9-4. With their record, Iowa State is third in the conference.

Baylor is 13-0 in the conference, ranking first, and Texas is second with a record of 10-4.

Oklahoma is the last place team in the Big 12 with a conference record of 2-11.

Fennelly said the team’s performance and accomplishments are tied to how the fans of the team will remember them.

“I tell our players all of the time ‘When you’re done, they’re excited that you’re gone, or they’re sad that you left,’” Fennelly said. “Which one is it going to be?”