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Cyclones look to end a tough road stretch against No. 24 West Virginia

Kelsey+Joens+dribbles+the+ball+against+North+Dakota+State+at+Hilton+Coliseum+on+Dec.+10%2C+2023.
Tyler Coe
Kelsey Joens dribbles the ball against North Dakota State at Hilton Coliseum on Dec. 10, 2023.

Iowa State women’s basketball will be desperately awaiting the end of the upcoming matchup they have in Morgantown, West Virginia, against No. 24 West Virginia, as the team has been on a long, tough road stretch that has caused a slip and a pair of losses.

Part of the reason for this slippage in play comes from the unexpected news that TCU would forfeit its game against Iowa State, which was scheduled to be in Ames.

The Horned Frog matchup was supposed to give the Cyclones a break from the road, but did not have that chance any longer, and Iowa State is forced to play three straight road games.

Head coach Bill Fennelly is not a coach who is big on making excuses when his team does lose, but he does believe this stretch, with what happened with TCU forcing his team to not play a home game for over a week, has played a factor in the back-to-back conference losses.

“I’m big on you find a way and not an excuse, but I do think that situation has impacted our team. There’s nothing we can do about it, so it is what it is. I think the big thing about it is that our team has handled it well,” Fennelly said.

Fennelly then went on to talk about his team’s upcoming matchup against the Mountaineers who will be certainly looking to pay revenge since Iowa State did upset No. 24 West Virginia the last time the two squads played.

“I think the uniqueness of them is their defensive style,” Fennelly said. “For us, it’s a hard thing to replicate, especially in one day when they’ve had the week off.”

The Mountaineers have not played a game for nearly a week since they took down Cincinnati Saturday on the road, so they will certainly be looking to get back home and take down the team that beat them a couple of weeks ago.

Fennelly also had some thoughts about the way West Virginia has started out its past two games, as it has held both Houston and Cincinnati to zero first-quarter points that helped the Mountaineers pull ahead in a big way in the end.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever heard back-to-back games where they’ve held a team to zero in the first quarter. The way we’ve been playing in the first quarter could be an issue, so we gotta knock one in quick to get that zero off of their streak,” Fennelly said.

Guard Kelsey Joens feels the team got a good learning experience after dropping two straight conference road games and believes the team can get back to where they were when they were on an eight-game winning streak.

“We learned about the type of team we are when we are down,” Joens said. “We’ve been down for most of the season, and we’ve learned how to come back from that and not drop our heads and learn to just keep pushing and pushing until we overcome the deficit.”

While there is some belief from the players and coaches that they can turn this losing streak around, it is hard to imagine it happening with what is coming their way.

Iowa State will take on West Virginia at 1 p.m. Saturday in hopes of bouncing back from its current losing streak. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.

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