Momentum-riding Cyclones ready for Oklahoma State rematch

Sophomore Adriana Camber moving in to take her shot against the TCU Horned Frogs at the Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 30. 

Jack Macdonald

Bridget Carleton has Oklahoma State’s number. Likewise, Loryn Goodwin has Iowa State’s number. 

And on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. inside Hilton Coliseum, either Goodwin or Carleton will be getting the last laugh. When then-No. 19 Oklahoma State hosted the Cyclones on Jan. 24, the Cyclones were smack-dab in the middle of a five-game stretch against ranked opponents. 

The likelihood of Iowa State knocking of the Cowgirls was slim, but enter Carleton. The junior guard exploded for a career-high 39 points en route to 78-69 win, but Goodwin wasn’t far behind with 30. 

However, this time around with adjustments from both teams, the Cyclones will be ready for Goodwin, and the Cowgirls will have a game plan for Carleton. 

“I don’t think they will [change much defensively from last time],” said Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly. “They’re very, very solid. They know what they want to do.”

Luckily for the Cyclones, if Oklahoma State does make an adjustment, they have three players coming off career games that can provide scoring instead of relying on Carleton and senior guard Emily Durr. Prior to the Cyclones’ “bye” week, they smacked Kansas State 80-45, backed by an unlikely trio. 

Remarkably, Durr and Carleton weren’t the top scorers against Kansas State. In fact, they weren’t even in Iowa State’s top three in scoring. Instead, Adriana Camber (21 points), Meredith Burkhall (20 points), and Madison Wise (17 points) led the charge. 

“To get out there and score and rebound like I did was really nice,” Burkhall said. “Everyone was ready to go.”

With those three players surging right now, the key will be to make sure those three show up Saturday because, according to Burkhall, the Cowgirls will be throwing players at Carleton after her 39-point performance against them last time. 

It should also be a relief for the Cyclones that Burkhall is finally stepping up because Bride Kennedy-Hopoate will once again be out of the lineup. That leaves freshman Kristin Scott, senior Claire Rickets and Burkhall as the lone post players. 

For those three, they will be handed the task of guarding Oklahoma State’s 6-foot-4 center Kaylee Jensen. While Goodwin shined last time, Jensen is the one that has shredded the Cyclones time and time again. The last five times Jensen and the Cowgirls have played the Cyclones, the senior has gone for a total of 89 points, an average of 17.8 per game. 

“[Getting] good position on offense and defense, beating her down the floor,” Burkhall said of the matchup with Jensen. “Continuing to work before she catches the ball and when she catches it, just play the best straight-up [defense] as you can.”

Whether it’s Jensen or Goodwin, Oklahoma State will be ready this time. The Cowgirls are ranked No. 22 for a reason and while last time wasn’t exactly a fluke per se, this game will still be different. 

Kennedy-Hopoate will be in street clothes and Carleton will be flanked every time she has the ball. Jensen is going to be a handful again, but now the Cyclones know Goodwin, a graduate transfer from Texas-San Antonio, can ball. 

“If we play hard and play our game, then we’ll be fine,” Durr said. 

Bottom line: Oklahoma State will be ready for whatever the Cyclones throw at the Cowgirls. 

“We probably surprised them,” Fennelly said. “They’ll be more than ready this time. They have a lot of stuff to play for.”