‘It’s like Christmas man’: Iowa State draws UT Arlington in NCAA Tournament


Jacob Rice/Iowa State Daily

(From left to right:) Iowa State women’s basketball players Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw, Maddie Frederick, Mary Kate King and Denae Fritz celebrate after an Iowa State basket on March 11 in the first round of the 2022 Big 12 Championship.

Andrew Harrington

Iowa State women’s basketball heard its name called on Selection Sunday, receiving a three-seed, facing off against UT Arlington on Friday.

As one of the top-four teams in the Greensboro Region, Iowa State will host both the Round of 64 and 32 in Hilton Coliseum. The other two teams that will come to Ames for the tournament are Georgia and the winner of Dayton and DePaul.

Hosting the tournament means a lot to the Cyclones, especially to the players. Morgan Kane said that will just feel like another home game with a lot of fan support.

“Hilton fans are unlike any other, so super excited to have the chance to play again at Hilton,” Kane said.

UT Arlington is coming off of a Sun Belt Conference Tournament win and finished the season with a 20-7 record. Iowa State Head Coach Bill Fennelly said that he does not know much about this team, however he is going to do the necessary scouting to learn as much as he can.

“That’s the intriguing thing about this tournament,” Fennelly said. “We’ve never crossed paths. I don’t think that they played anyone that we played.”

With the NCAA Tournament berth, Fennelly will make his 20th tournament appearance in 27 seasons with Iowa State. The Cyclones have also made the tournament in 13 of the last 16 seasons; one of which was not played due to the pandemic.

Coming off of an overtime loss to Texas in the Big 12 Tournament, Fennelly said that he wishes his team was playing in the conference’s championship game but could not be more excited to finish the year with this team.

“I’m heartbroken we don’t get to get to play again tomorrow, but we’re gonna play again, and I would not want to be around any other people than these guys,” Fennelly said after Saturday’s loss to Texas.

Hearing Iowa State called on Selection Sunday was special for Fennelly. He said that after all of the work that a team puts in throughout the offseason and during the season all gets credited with an NCAA Tournament Selection.

“It’s like Christman man,” Fennelly said. “It’s a great day for our university.”