Future is bright despite Senior Day loss

Redshirt Junior Forward Claire Ricketts cheers after a shot during the Iowa State Vs UC Riverside basketball game Dec 17. The Cyclones Defeated Riverside 89-66

Jack Macdonald

The future of the Iowa State women’s basketball team is bright.

However, the Cyclones found that out the hard way during a 72-59 loss to No. 6 Texas on Senior Day. 

While the day was meant to signify the career’s that Emily Durr and Claire Ricketts have had in the cardinal and gold, both seniors had relatively quiet nights. Durr, who had scored well into double figures in her last eight games, failed to even get into double figures tonight. The Utica, New York, native finished with just eight points. 

And Ricketts, who has come on late in the season, had just three points and two rebounds. However, one game does not define the career’s the two have had at Iowa State and Cyclone fans will certainly miss No. 3 and No. 30. 

“It’s really meant everything,” Durr said of playing at Iowa State. “Personally, I think these fans are the best in the country … I’ve had the best four years here.

“I wouldn’t change one thing about it.”

With Durr and Ricketts having just played their final game inside Hilton Coliseum, Iowa State’s youth gave the fans plenty of hope for next season. The Cyclones will get the likes of Meredith Burkhall, Bridget Carleton and Adriana Camber back.

Then, the Cyclones will also get back Madison Wise and Kristin Scott, two freshman that have the potential to be big stars down the road. 

“The program, this sounds maybe silly with our record, but I think the Iowa State women’s basketball program is in a really good spot,” said head coach Bill Fennelly. “With the kids that we have that are coming back to Iowa State, with the kids that have been recruited, with Alexa Middleton sitting out, [we’ll be good].

“Again, it goes back to what Emily and Claire did, but this place is in a good spot.”

What Fennelly said is true, but that youth did show some weaknesses, albiet against the No. 6 team in the country. The biggest problem the Cyclones had was the ball movement the Longhorns utilized and their shot-making ability.

The Longhorns went 28-for-66 from the field with eight 3-pointers. The main problem was Texas possessed a three-headed monster. Texas’ Lashann Higgs, Brooke McCarthy and Ariel Atkins exposed the Cyclones. Each went for over 10 points and McCarthy had a game-high 11 rebounds. 

“Texas is an outstanding team,” Fennelly said. “They’re very well coached, they know how to play and they do everything the way they should.”

Texas did everything it should have done, but the the Cyclones couldn’t make shots on the offensive end. Iowa State shot just 24-for-62 from the field, with just four 3-pointers all night. 

For a team that relies on the triples, it’s hard to win when they don’t fall, especially when the 3-point statline read 4-for-22 at the end of the night. 

Carleton was the only one on the Cyclones that somehow found a way to reach double figures, posting a game-high 23 points. Burkhall and Durr weren’t far behind with eight each. Scott also had an efficient night going 2-for-3 from the field with four rebounds, one assist and one block in 14 minutes. 

“We kind of went through some slumps there where we didn’t score for two or three minutes,” Carleton said. “We weren’t able to get stops on the defensive end.”

But the main problem, again, was that Texas was just a better team. The Longhorns had more experience and depth. Come next year, the Cyclones could very well find themselves on the other end of this type of game against an elite team.

“We’re a very young this year and that’s only going to mean good things moving forward,” Durr said. “They’re gonna have Alexa Middleton next year. You throw in Bridget, who’s so steady, so confident and has a great work ethic, I think that’s just a recipe for success.

“I’ll definitely be watching back in New York every game. I’m excited.”