ISU women get chance to avenge loss

Mark Pawlak

The trip to Manhattan, Kan. hasn’t been the sweetest of journeys for the ISU women’s basketball team recently and will be no easier this time when it meets the Wildcats on Saturday.

Kansas State has won two of the last three in the series on its home court, and the Wildcats are currently sitting in first place in the conference standings with one of their best teams in years.

The 16th-ranked Cyclones (16-5, 4-5) come into the game after defeating Missouri Wednesday to put them on their first two-game conference winning streak of the season.

To push the streak to three and climb to the .500 mark in conference, Iowa State will have to deal with ninth-ranked Kansas State (20-2, 8-1).

“It’s the kind of game that good players and good teams want to play,” ISU head coach Bill Fennelly said. “We’re playing the first-place team, a top-10 team, in front of a sell-out crowd.”

The Wildcats defeated Iowa State, 69-63, Jan. 2 at Hilton Coliseum to start the conference season.

In the contest, Iowa State never led and struggled to find its shooting touch, hitting 33.9 percent of its field goals. The defeat ended the Cyclones 26-game home winning streak.

“Obviously, after losing at home, we’ve been waiting to play them. It will be an exciting game. They have a great record in conference and we’re fighting our way back after losing some early,” guard Lindsey Wilson said.

“It’s going to be important to not let the crowd get into it early and try to come out strong from the start.”

A quick start will be important to the Cyclones’ chances. They faced double digit deficits in the first half against Colorado and Texas Tech, which they were not able to overcome.

“Any game in the Big 12, you can’t expect to come out not with fire right from the beginning and dig yourself a hole and expect to fight back,” Wilson said.

Against Missouri Wednesday, Iowa State trailed by eight points in the first half before rallying late in the half and rolling in the second half to an 87-61 victory.

“In the second half, we played really well,” Fennelly said. “I thought the second 20 minutes were obviously the way the team can play when they play well.”

Defensively, Iowa State will have to keep track of Wildcat freshman guard Laurie Koehn.

Koehn is fifth in the league in scoring and leads the league in three-pointers made. In her last game against Texas, Koehn hit seven three-pointers and scored 28 points.

“Because she shoots it so deep, if you loose track of her at all, she’s going to make it,” Fennelly said. “She’s coming off a big game and shooters are streaky people.”

The Cyclones know that they are improving but a complete effort will be needed to take down the Wildcats.

“We’ve won two in a row, and we feel like we’re getting better,” Fennelly said.

“We’re going to have to play as well as we can play to be in the game, there’s no question about that.”