Fennelly discusses rotations, injuries ahead of the season


Iowa State women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly spoke highly of Aubery Joens and the rest of the Cyclones at media day on Wednesday.

Andrew Harrington

The first official game for the Iowa State women’s basketball team is on Tuesday, but head coach Bill Fennelly still has many decisions to make.

A few of the question marks that the team will face during the coming season include figuring out a rotation for the posts, strategizing minutes between Emily Ryan and Lexi Donarski and injuries to players such as Beatriz Jordão and Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw.

Plans for the post

With Morgan Kane, Beatriz Jordão, Izzi Zingaro and Maggie Vick all capable of playing at the five position, Fennelly believes that creates a problem for him of which players will see the most court time.

A few months of practice was not enough time for this situation to be sorted out, making this a question that will be brought up many times as the games pass.

“We’ve talked about post play from the first day we got together in August, and I think we’re going to talk about it in March. There is not going to be any clarity,” Fennelly said.

Two starting point guards

Both Donarski and Ryan proved during the previous season that they are high-level players, earning themselves large roles for the upcoming season. The two will likely receive the bulk of the workload at the point guard position.

An issue arises as the two will be locks for the starting lineup, causing Fennelly to closely manage his lineups, making sure that both of the players remain fresh.

“It’s not like you’re bringing a rested person in, so we have to figure out where to rotate,” Fennelly said.

Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw is also able to play point guard, but because she is battling an injury, the third player that Fennelly named at the point guard position is forward Ashley Joens. Fennelly said that Joens will not play a large chunk of time at the position, but it will happen throughout the season.

“Our third string point guard, which we practice every day for a short amount of time, is Ashley Joens,” Fennelly said. “We have a package for her, it’s I guess our Wildcat package or whatever package you want to call it.”

Key Injuries

There are two injuries that Fennelly said could impact the Cyclones heading into the season. Jordão is close to returning after missing a large portion of the preseason. She has already begun to work out individually and Fennelly is looking to get involved in the team workouts.

Espenmiller-McGraw suffered a lower leg injury last season and is still working to get back on the court. Fennelly expects her to miss a solid part of the season, but to play a big role on the team upon her return.

“Maggie is out probably another six weeks,” Fennelly said. “The medical team has done an amazing job trying to evaluate and be fair to her, and look at her long term health.”