Iowa State travels to Kansas to take on Jayhawks

Ashley Joens goes up through contact Feb. 6 against Texas Tech.

Megan Teske

After their first matchup was rescheduled for later in the season, Iowa State will travel to Lawrence, Kansas, to take on the Jayhawks for the first time this season Wednesday.

The Cyclones currently have four regular-season games left on their schedule, including the rescheduled Kansas game. Iowa State swept TCU on Saturday, and the Cyclones now sit at 13-8 overall and 9-5 in Big 12 play.

Iowa State has been steadily improving its play over the season, improving its rebounding, offensive efficiency and aggressiveness.

Head Coach Bill Fennelly said he wants his team to improve upon their on-ball defense.

“I think the number one thing we have to improve on is our on-ball defense right now,” Fennelly said. “You don’t quantify that statistically, but what it does lead to is lower field-goal percentage for the other team, less free-throw attempts for the other team, better rebounding position for our team. I think that would be the number one thing right now.”

Fennelly also wants the team to be smart about taking care of the ball, and they talk about “what travels.”

It doesn’t matter where or who you play, but Fennelly said the things that translate are what is going to be important as they get down to the last few games of the regular season.

With it being so late in the season and this being the first time Iowa State plays Kansas this season, junior guard Ashley Joens said it will be a little different this time around.

“It will definitely be a little different because they have had most of their season,” Joens said. “You can kind of see from their beginning games to now how much they’ve improved.”

Joens added the Cyclones will just have to follow the scouting report and listen to the coaches, and with the regular season winding down, Iowa State can’t take anyone for granted.

“All the games now are really important in that sense, you can’t really take anyone for granted,” Joens said. “They’re all gonna come out, they’re all gonna play hard and they won’t let up, you just have to play the whole 40 minutes.”

Fennelly said they have watched a lot of film of Kansas to figure out what to expect, but the Jayhawks are a little more unique.

Kansas plays a lot of players, and Fennelly said the Jayhawks have only started two players every Big 12 game, so there’s going to be lot of different personnel.

“They’re always gonna guard you really hard,” Fennelly said. “They have a lot of guards who can beat you off the bounce, they’ve had some kids that have really played well against us in the past.”

Fennelly said the biggest thing is the Jayhawks have always been committed to the defensive end of the floor and Iowa State will also have to figure out who is playing for Kansas, but for the Cyclones, it always comes down to what they are doing and what they can control.

“For us, it’s taking care of the ball, it’s identifying offensive options, trying to play with a little bit of pace and the shots that are there, we gotta make them,” Fennelly said.

Iowa State is scheduled to take on Kansas at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Lawrence, Kansas. The game will be available to watch on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.