Cyclones ready for “what’s next” against No.15 Oklahoma


DJ Jacobi / Iowa State Daily

Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly looks towards his team as they play against South Dakota State on Nov. 15 in Hilton Coliseum.

Aaron Hickman

Coming off of an ugly loss to No. 14 Texas on Wednesday night, No. 6 Iowa State has a chance to get things back on track on Saturday at home.

The competition won’t be any easier, though, as No. 15 Oklahoma will come to town sitting just one game back of the Cyclones in the Big 12 standings.

Iowa State Head Coach Bill Fennelly talked about how he tends to dwell on losses more than he celebrates wins, but noted that his team is ready to move on and finish out the season strong.

“Players bounce back a heck of a lot faster than coaches, media and fans do,” Fennelly said. “They’re pretty resilient about what’s next, and I think our kids are excited about what’s next.”

The Cyclones bested the Sooners back on Jan. 5th by a score of 81-71, and it can be expected to be a high-scoring affair once again.

Oklahoma has the second-best scoring offense in the nation, averaging just over 85 points-per-game. While Iowa State’s offense is also in the top-15, it is the team’s defense that will need to have a strong showing in order to come out with a win.

Oklahoma Head Coach Jenna Baranczyk, who played at Iowa and was the head coach at Drake for a decade before departing to the Sooners, is someone who Iowa State is very familiar with.

With that familiarity, following the scouting report will be extremely important on Saturday.

Ashley Joens will be honored for breaking the all-time scoring record during the men’s game that will take place earlier in the day, and she is looking forward to having a packed Hilton Coliseum for the double-header.

“It means a lot, because I know Cyclone nation is going to be behind me the whole time,” Joens said. “They’ve supported us throughout the four years I’ve been here and the years before that, especially during the COVID year when we weren’t allowed as many fans, and they were still there supporting and watching the games.”

Tied atop the conference with Baylor and still in control of their destiny in the Big 12, there’s plenty on the line for Iowa State.

Focusing on the next 40 minutes and treating every opponent as if they are nameless and faceless have been staples of the program this season.

At the end of the day, the upcoming game is just another opportunity to get a win.

“We’re excited about it,” Fennelly said. “We’ve tried to tell our team that this time of year you should be embracing that we get to rather than have to, and we get to play in a big game Saturday night.”