Full steam ahead as Cyclones host UC-Riverside

Kristin Scott attempts a three pointer in Iowa State’s 99-58 win over North Carolina Central. 

Jack Macdonald

Four games. Three losses.

That is the current stretch the Iowa State women’s basketball team is on.

Luckily, that win came in its most recent game against North Carolina Central — a much-needed win. Those three losses came from Drake, Vanderbilt and Iowa. Three points decided two of the losses and against the Hawkeyes it was six points, meaning a few made shots and the Cyclones would have three more wins.

“Our team needed something positive,” said coach Bill Fennelly of last Sunday’s win. “It wasn’t the caliber of team we’re gonna face down the road, but this team needed something good to happen.”

And when the Cyclones (4-5, 0-0 Big 12) welcome UC-Riverside (3-7, 0-0 Big West) to Hilton Coliseum on Sunday afternoon, they’ll be searching for another win. With non-conference games ticking away, the Cyclones need all the wins they can get going into a tough Big 12 schedule.

The Highlanders present another great opportunity for the Cyclones to pick up a win similar to last Sunday’s contest where they dismantled the Eagles. In that win, the Cyclones were able to see the rise of two post players – something that had been absent.

The two post players being Meredith Burkhall and Kristin Scott.

“For me it was just, I have the mentality now to just work at the everyday practice and just bring that to every single game,” Scott said. “I want it to be consistent, so I’m just gonna work harder at that.”

During the three losses, Burkhall accounted for just 11 points. Last Sunday, the junior had 19, a season-high. Similar to Burkhall, Scott accounted for seven points in the three-game losing streak. Against the Eagles, she exploded for 19 points, a career-high.

Those two performances came a game after junior forward Bride Kennedy-Hopoate held Iowa’s potential All-American, Megan Gustafson, in check and added a career-high 10 points while she was at it.

While the post play has struggled in the last four games, Adriana Camber has not. The sophomore has drained 11 3-pointers in that stretch. However, against UC-Riverside, Camber can’t wait to heat up in the second half like she has all season long.

“I should try that,” Camber said of shooting a 3-pointer in the second half.

Of Camber’s 41 points in the four-game stretch, 35 have come in the second half. In two games, Camber has recorded zero points in the first half, only to turn around and finish with a double-digit performance.

Despite whatever talent level the Cyclones come across on Sunday, it’s a must-win game. Sitting one game under .500 is not an ideal way to start Big 12 play.

The Highlanders, with seven losses, have played four power-five schools, two of which were ranked. They also have a win over UNLV, a team that is 7-2 with a few good wins.

“We need these next two wins before going into break to build our confidence and get over .500,” Scott said.

Much like Scott, Fennelly noted that the next two games are the final two before break, meaning an all out effort is expected just like every other game.

“It’s important for us to finish the pre-Christmas schedule,” Fennelly said. “Hopefully on a good note knowing the Big 12 starts when we get back.”