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Iowa State Daily

Nyamer Diew’s leadership role on a young team felt by all

Nyamer+Diew+shoots+a+three+pointer+against+North+Dakota+State+at+Hilton+Coliseum+on+Dec.+10%2C+2023.
Tyler Coe
Nyamer Diew shoots a three pointer against North Dakota State at Hilton Coliseum on Dec. 10, 2023.

AMES — Heading into the 2023-24 season, Iowa State was expecting to be led by the duo of Nyamer Diew and Emily Ryan in hopes of claiming another Big 12 title. Having two returning seniors on a conference championship team would have been a big benefit to the youth Iowa State brought in.

However, due to an injury, Ryan would miss the beginning of the season and is still indefinite on her status. That meant Diew would be the only returning senior to be on the court for the Cyclones.

Head coach Bill Fennelly knew it would be a season of growth for his young squad and turned to Diew to be the leader for the team.

“We talked about it at the beginning of the season when we knew [Ryan] wasn’t going to be available,” Fennelly said. “The biggest thing is there’s a very fine line between being a leader and doing it the right way, and the fact of how much of that affects your own personal game.”

Diew had her own doubts about rising to the task but found confidence in herself in talks with Fennelly and Ryan. Diew said her relationship with Ryan has strengthened over the course of the year and they have become close friends.

“A lot of it was conversations with coaches, conversations with [Ryan],” Diew said. “Coach [Fennelly] just kept instilling that faith in me, saying ‘You were meant for this.’”

Meant for this she was. Diew has been a big part of the Cyclones’ success both on and off the court. Fennelly emphasized how important actions off the court are in terms of leadership.

“When you have so many new people it’s not just what happens on gameday, it’s how we do everything,” Fennelly said. “[Diew] has done a really good job of playing and trying to lead and trying to do things the way we need them done.”

The presence Diew has defensively is where she feels she can make the biggest impact. She leads the Cyclones with eight blocks this season and has four steals.

Diew leads the Cyclones in minutes played this season with nearly 34 per game. Her on-court presence has been a factor in making sure the younger players are adapting well to the higher level of play.

Freshman Addy Brown is one of those players. Brown has started becoming a star for the Cyclones in recent weeks.

Nearing multiple triple-doubles, Brown has adapted quickly to the college game and credits Diew as a big reason for her early success.

“When we do get worked up she’s quick to say ‘We’re good, deep breath, move on,’” Brown said. “It’s just nice to have that experience to lean back on when we really need it, and that’s who we go to.”

Diew has shown early that she is the leader of the Cyclones. Time will tell if Ryan will return, but the Cyclones are in good hands with Diew being in charge.

“Looking back a year ago, I never thought I’d be the only senior on the court at some moments, but it’s fun,” Diew said.

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