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No game? No problem: Cyclones make use of off day to prepare for road stint

Bill+Fennelly+coaches+his+squad+against+North+Dakota+State+at+Hilton+Coliseum+on+Dec.+10%2C+2023.
Tyler Coe
Bill Fennelly coaches his squad against North Dakota State at Hilton Coliseum on Dec. 10, 2023.

Following its loss to Texas Tech on Wednesday that ended its perfect start to Big 12 conference play, Iowa State was left with a week-long absence from play following TCU’s forfeit Wednesday morning.

The game versus the Horned Frogs would have given the Cyclones a break from their road travels, but that remained no longer an option as Iowa State was forced to prepare for what came next.

So the question arose of what the Cyclones would do to prepare for their next opponent, which would be a road game in Lawrence, Kansas, to take on Kansas, whom they already faced off against this season.

Head coach Bill Fennelly knew the team had to capitalize on the opportunity they were given, and feels his team did just that while mixing in a little fun to keep team morale high.

“We had a scrimmage in the morning with our scout team and made it as game-like as possible, then the kids had a phenomenal We Will event at Sweet Caroline’s, where they watched the men’s game,” Fennelly said. “So I think, all things considered, it turned out as good as it could be and I think our kids handled it really well.”

The We Will Collective was made to benefit student-athletes by having them participate in community events in Ames that could lead to a potential NIL deal for those athletes.

The women’s basketball team participated in one of those events Saturday, as they had a meet and greet with fans at Sweet Caroline’s, a restaurant in Ames, while watching the men’s basketball team take on TCU in Fort Worth, Texas.

Center Audi Crooks knows the importance of staying as game-ready as possible, even with this break in play that forced them to prepare even more than usual.

“We did what we could because the last thing we wanted to do was have loose preparation, so we had a fun day playing against our scout team and we ended up winning,” Crooks said.

Crooks was also happy to make some fans’ day following their hard scrimmage on Saturday, as they went to go visit some fans who would have attended the TCU game, to watch the men’s team with the fans at Sweet Caroline’s.

“It was nice to see all our fans at the We Will event that would’ve been at the game because I know there were a lot of little girls who wanted to come see us, but it was nice to still make their day,” Crooks said.

Guard Emily Ryan has been with Iowa State for four seasons now, and this type of event is rare to occur during the bulk of Big 12 Conference play, so keeping the same game intensity will help keep the team ready and fresh for what’s to come.

“Having a whole week in between games is a long time, especially when we’re in the middle of the season,” Ryan said. “So just being able to replicate that and bring the intensity and energy to a practice or in this case a scrimmage, is something important to utilize in practice and in games.”

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