Cyclone defense to be put to the test versus South Dakota State


DJ Jacobi

Emily Ryan reaches up to defend the hoop against Omaha on Nov. 9 in Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones won their season opener 65-38.

Andrew Harrington

With nearly a week between games, Iowa State women’s basketball is set to play its second game of the season against South Dakota State (SDSU) at 6:30 p.m. on Monday at Hilton Coliseum. 

In a 2020-21 season that was full of highs for the Cyclones, one loss came against a SDSU team that finished 21-4 with an NCAA Tournament appearance. This year’s team is currently 1-1 with the loss coming against Mississippi State.

Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly understands it will be facing a very strong team and is preparing for a battle.

“Really, the first true test of a very difficult non-conference schedule,” Fennelly said. “When you talk about women’s basketball teams that have been historically successful, South Dakota State is on that list, and this team is no different than what they have had in the past.”

In the Cyclones’ season-opening 65-38 win, the shooting performance did not meet expectations, but the players made up for it with a solid defensive performance. Holding Omaha to less than 40 points required a strong showing from both the backcourt and the post players.

“I do think that we have kids that do believe that they can defend, not just individually but collectively,” Fennelly said. “That’s obviously going to be tested starting on Monday night, but if you can be a decent perimeter defensive team, that solves a lot of your problems.”

After scoring just six points in her debut, South Dakota State freshman Paige Meyer scored a game-high 25 points against Mississippi State on Friday. If the Cyclones can shut down Meyer during the coming game, the squad will likely be in a good place to take a victory.

The schedule for the Cyclones lightens up a bit after the Jackrabbits, with matchups against Drake, Southern and Charlotte looming, so an Iowa State win would put the team in a good spot moving forward.