Cyclones not looking past No. 10 Creighton in Sweet 16


Lexi Donarski runs to the opposite side of the court after scoring a three during the Cyclones’ 67–44 win against No. 6 Georgia. 

Andrew Harrington

The Sweet 16 has arrived for the Cyclones, and a matchup with No. 10 seed Creighton on Friday for a trip to the Elite Eight awaits.

Riding a blowout win over No. 6 seed Georgia, Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly appreciates his team getting him to this point.

“I think I’ve thanked them 50 times for getting me here,” Fennelly said. “I’m at a point in my career where you’re not going to do this many more times, if ever.”

Fennelly said that this experience has been special to him, from how nice the hotel his team is staying at is to the police escort they received and even the fancy dinners that they are having.

As usual, Fennelly is laser-focused on the upcoming game, keeping his team in the mindset of not looking past any opponent.

Ashley Joens said much of the same as Fennelly, saying that the team should enjoy their time in Greensboro, N.C., but ultimately be prepared for when the game comes around.

“When it’s time to focus it’s business time, and afterwards we can kind of relax and have fun,” Joens said.

Creighton plays a similar style to Iowa State in that it can knock down the three-point shot, but when it’s not dropping, the team may struggle. The Bluejays rank 11th in three-point percentage and fourth in three-pointers made. Iowa State is second in each of these categories.

The Cyclones are aware of the damage that the Bluejays can do, as they watched them take down No. 2 seed Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, to get to this point. Fennelly is not worried about Creighton knocking down shots, rather how his team does limiting easy buckets from the Bluejays.

“It’s not a style we see in the Big 12 a lot because our league has some really good post players,” Fennelly said. “Everyone is gonna talk about, Creighton is gonna make all these threes, I’m more worried about how many layups they’re gonna make.”

Creighton does not play a lot of height in its starting five, which the Cyclones feel benefits them. With that being said, it leaves a question mark for who star defender Lexi Donarski will match up with.

Fennelly said that there is not just one answer to this, and she will match up with multiple opponents throughout the game.

“I think Lex can defend three or four different people on their team,” Fennelly said.

Donarski hopes the team can just lock in and keep the mentality that her team has played with all year Friday.

“We don’t overlook anyone, and we always take it one game at a time,” Donarski said. “We’re not focused on the future or anything, just the game at hand.”

The game will tip off at 8:30 p.m. Friday and will air on ESPN2.