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Iowa State Daily

Iowa State turns to Emily Ryan for leadership as season winds down

Emily+Ryan+runs+the+Iowa+State+offense+against+UNI+at+Hilton+Coliseum+on+Dec.+20%2C+2023.
Tyler Coe
Emily Ryan runs the Iowa State offense against UNI at Hilton Coliseum on Dec. 20, 2023.

As the end of the season rapidly approaches, the Iowa State women’s basketball team has a few chances left to finish strong. A road win against Houston gave the Cyclones something to celebrate as the final four-game stretch began.

The win came at a big point in the season for Iowa State, given that the past five road contests resulted in a loss. A strong start to what the Cyclones have called a four-game season has brought a new focus to the team.

“We’re really focused on the last three games,” freshman Addy Brown said. “We’ve got a four-game calendar in our locker room and that’s kind of been our mindset this month, the games we have and what we need to do to finish.”

The poster was made after the Texas game, which Iowa State lost 81-60. Since the graphic was created, Iowa State is 1-0 and snapped its five-game road slump.

“We made a poster, literally,” head coach Bill Fennelly said. “It’s got the calendar, and it just has the dates and the games on it. We put it up in the locker room here and we take it with us on the road. It’s just a visual aid to see that March 2 is right here.”

March 2 is the final game of the regular season for Iowa State. Fennelly added that all of the work that has gone into the season, which started in the summer, leads up to that point on the calendar.

Along with the poster, leadership and guidance from experienced players like senior Emily Ryan will be needed to help the young group stay the course.

“This is the time where the players have to make the choices and the determinations of where they want to go and how they want to get there, and [Ryan] is the one leading them,” Fennelly said.

With a longer season for the freshman players than their high school season, Fennelly has tasked Ryan with a larger role to take charge.

“I talk to [Ryan] a lot about a lot of things, but probably more this time of year than usual because of where we are,” Fennelly said. “She responds to that really, really well, and she likes the investment we make in her and the investment that she makes in her teammates.”

That investment has the Cyclones in a tiebreaker for fifth place in the Big 12 standings over No. 24 Baylor. With three games to go in the regular season, Iowa State could finish anywhere from third to seventh in the conference.

“The biggest message that we’ve kind of said is you can’t let the moment get too big and try to take in too much at one time,” Ryan said. “You’ve got to take it one game at a time, one practice at a time.”

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