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Juggernauts await Iowa State, path starts with No. 23 Oklahoma

Emily+Ryan+setting+up+a+play+during+the+Iowa+State+vs.+Oklahoma+State+game+in+Hilton+Coliseum%2C+Jan.+31%2C+2024.
Matteo Bender
Emily Ryan setting up a play during the Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State game in Hilton Coliseum, Jan. 31, 2024.

The Iowa State women’s basketball team will get back on the hardwood Saturday when No. 23 Oklahoma comes to town. Both teams are trending in completely different directions, with Oklahoma tied for first place in the Big 12 and Iowa State slipping through the standings.

After its hot start to the conference season, Iowa State has cooled off, winning one of its last five games. That lone win was at home, with the four losses all coming on the road.

What the Cyclones do have going for them is their home record which is 10-1 including non-conference games. Iowa State has yet to lose a Big 12 game at Hilton Coliseum this season at 4-0, but that could be in jeopardy when a red-hot Oklahoma shows up.

“[Oklahoma] is playing obviously better than anyone in our league,” Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said. “They’re playing better than anyone in the country when you think about it. When you go to Texas and play the way they played, and turn around and beat Kansas State at home, that says it right there.”

Oklahoma has won their past seven games, a streak that started following its only conference loss on the road against Kansas State on Dec. 16. Iowa State’s success at home is rivaled greatly by the road success the Sooners have found.

“We just need to play how we play,” freshman Addy Brown said. “On the flip side, we’ve gotta stop them in transition and take away what they want to do.”

A lot of Oklahoma’s success has been from forward Skylar Vann. Vann leads the team in 15.9 points per game and averages seven rebounds per game, another team high.

Iowa State senior Emily Ryan has faced Oklahoma many times and knows how challenging it is to play the Sooners.

“Offensively, they are a juggernaut,” Ryan said. “It’s a different style of play than what we’ve seen the past few games. It’s gonna be super fast-paced which will be a lot of fun, and I’m excited for it.”

The Oklahoma game kicks off what will likely be the toughest three-game portion of the schedule yet for Iowa State. Following Oklahoma, the Cyclones will host No. 8 Kansas State and travel to take on No. 7 Texas.

“We’re into a really tough stretch,” Fennelly said. “Now you play the top three teams in the league. So, three weeks to go in the regular season and some great opportunities in front of us.”

The action against No. 23 Oklahoma starts at 6 p.m. Saturday from Hilton Coliseum. The game can also be streamed on ESPN+.

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