Emily Ryan continuing to develop ahead of sophomore season


Iowa State sophomore guard Emily Ryan talks with reporters at media day Oct. 6.

Andrew Harrington

Emily Ryan made major contributions to Iowa State women’s basketball during her freshman season but expects much more of herself in the coming seasons.

As one of the staples of the women’s basketball program, Ryan will approach the coming season looking to take the next step in the progression of her game.

Ryan posted 8.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists in her freshman season, demonstrating that she has what it takes to succeed at the collegiate level. Head coach Bill Fennelly has high praise for Ryan, claiming that she has a high knowledge of the game and is ready for the next step in 2021.

“She is a leader, it is what you want whether it is quarterback or your best pitcher,” Fennelly said. “She knows the game, she knows what we are about, she cares so much about her teammates, she has been a winner her whole life and we are just really really lucky to have her. You want someone in that position that understands the position, and no one that I have been around in a long time understands it better than her.”

The team saw some of this potential during Ryan’s first collegiate season as she earned unanimous Big 12 All-freshman team, but if the Cyclones are going to make a big run in the tournament this year, she will need to be a major part of it.

Ryan is the first to credit her teammates and coaches, saying that she would not be successful without them.

“Having the trust in my teammates and coaches is what’s most important,” Ryan said. “The coaches do a good job of putting us in positions to succeed. All of my teammates trust in each other, and so that is a recipe for success and I think that’s definitely what benefitted me last year.”

Every step of the way, Emily has had the support she needs from the personnel, which will be the main source of support for her as her career continues.

As a team, Iowa State is pushing to make a deep run in the tournament, which will require strong play from more players besides star players such as Ashley Joens and Lexi Donarski. 

Over his years as a head coach, Fennelly has watched many players grow their game, and he has begun to learn the patterns for development. There’s usually a big jump between freshman and sophomore year. Ryan could be in for one.

“Historically, it has always been freshman to sophomore year,” Fennelly said. “They are used to just being in college, they are used to being away from home, they are used to this is how we do things in a college environment.”

With Ryan entering this crucial second season, this is the time that the staff believes that she could make a major jump to become one of the best players in the conference.