Iowa State heads to Phog Allen for regular season finale

Senior Emily Durr looks for a pass during their game against the University of Texas on Feb. 24 at the Hilton Coliseum. 

Jack Macdonald

It’s not often that a team has a better record on the road than at home in conference play, but for the Iowa State women’s basketball team, that’s the situation the Cyclones are in. 

And when they head to Kansas on Tuesday for their regular season finale at 7 p.m., it’s just another opportunity to prove to the conference just how lethal of a road team they are. 

Thus far, Iowa State has six Big 12 wins and four of those have come away from Hilton Coliseum. After some quick math, that means the Cyclones average two wins away from home for every three games they win.

“We’ve had success on the road and hopefully that will continue,” said coach Bill Fennelly. “The only place we’re gonna play now is on the road. 

“There’s an opportunity there in front of us and hopefully tomorrow night we play well.”

That opportunity in front of the Cyclones is a chance to complete a season sweep of the Jayhawks. The Cyclones knocked off the Jayhawks 71-69 in overtime back on Dec. 28, 2017, a game that saw Kansas tie it with 10 seconds left. 

However, a lot of time has passed since the two teams opened up Big 12 play. Since that win, Iowa State has not gone above .500 and have lost forward Bride Kennedy-Hopoate to injury. On Kansas’ side, it has been in a downward spiral since Jan. 6, two games after the tilt in Hilton. 

The Jayhawks have lost 13 of their last 14 games, with the lone win coming last Wednesday against a talented Oklahoma State team. 

“Looking at the video of the first game really doesn’t do a whole lotta good,” Fennelly said. “They’re different, we’re different.”

While both teams are different, one thing has remained the same: Bridget Carleton. Carleton was on a tear and is still on a tear. In Big 12 play, Carleton is averaging 19.4 points per game, good for fourth in the conference. 

In her last four games, the junior is averaging 23.3 points. Not included in that stretch is a 39-point performance against Oklahoma State which pushed the Cyclones to an upset win. And in the first meeting, Carleton dropped 30 points on the Jayhawks. 

Carleton, who realizes the success the Cyclones have had on the road, isn’t afraid to admit the team is excited to get back on the road. 

“We’re excited to go on the road and play against Kansas,” Carleton said. “We have to bring our best game, but we’re excited to go there and play against them.”

Carleton isn’t the only Cyclone to find success between the two meetings, as freshman Madison Wise has also found her groove. Wise started the season showing flashes of promise, only to follow with bad performance. 

However, in Big 12 play, Wise has proven she belongs in the cardinal and gold. She is third on the team in scoring during the conference season and has been consistently contributing points on a nightly basis. 

“It’s been kind of a rollercoaster up and down, but we’ve been learning from it,” Wise said. 

Between the success Carleton and Wise have found and the improvements Kansas has made, Iowa State has a chance.

“We’re like every other team, you wanna finish playing your best,” Fennelly said. “As I tell our players every year, the season’s gonna end at some point and when it does, you want to feel like you did the best that you could. 

“[You] want to walk out of every gym, wherever it is, whether it’s Phog Allen or Oklahoma City with the idea that you played hard and did the things that you could to continue your season.”