Amidst rebounding struggles, Iowa State welcomes UMKC to Hilton Coliseum

Iowa State sophomore forward Adriana Camber looks for an option as she dribbles the ball during the Cyclones’ 57-53 loss to Northern Iowa at the McLeod Center. 

Jack Macdonald

When Missouri-Kansas City travels to Ames for a Monday night game, it will bring with it something that Iowa State lacks – a senior-loaded roster.

The Kangaroos have seven seniors and two redshirt juniors to go with their four underclassmen. However, unlike the ‘roos, Iowa State is on the other end of the spectrum. Of eligible players, the Cyclones have just two seniors available and two juniors that have significant NCAA Division I experience.

“I think they’re experienced,” said coach Bill Fennelly. “New coaching staff, so you can’t really go on what happened last year. You’re really just looking at stats and looking at the tendencies from what we’ve seen this year.”

Then, the Cyclones have their loaded freshman class and junior transfer Bride Kennedy-Hopoate to compliment sophomores Nia Washington and Adriana Camber.

And although UMKC has that experience, Iowa State clearly has the talent and size advantage. Much like their first two games, the Cyclones have a considerable size advantage in the post with 6-foot-3 freshman center Kristin Scott leading the way, compared to UMKC’s 6-foot-1 senior Kiana Law.

Through three games, Law has grabbed 24 rebounds and Scott has 16 in two games. Despite Iowa State’s size advantage in each of their first two games, the Cyclones have yet to be a dominant force in the paint.

“When we’re bigger and have the size advantage, we need to take advantage of that,” Scott said.

Against South Dakota, the Cyclones snagged only five offensive rebounds, compared to the Coyotes’ 11. Then, against Northern Iowa, they each had 12. Yes, there was an improvement, but key offensive rebounds were not grabbed by Iowa State and in turn, the Panthers converted on the next possession on several occasions.

“Our rebounding has not been good,” Fennelly said. “We’re giving up too many offensive rebounds. It’s not just the post players, defensive rebounding is the one thing where everyone needs to be involved, offensive rebounding your guards shouldn’t offensive rebound, they should be getting back on defense.”

While rebounding has been the main talk, the talk of Scott has also heated up since she donned the Cardinal and Gold. She has shown flashes of versatility, knocking down two 3-pointers, while leading the team in rebounds. Kennedy-Hopoate, who stands at 6-foot-4, has also shown flashes of brilliance at times, but the seven personal fouls in two games have hindered her play.

Scott has flirted with near double-doubles in both games, getting within a rebound and four points in her first career game.

“In high school I was in the paint all the time, but since I got here I expanded that,” Scott said. “I like that I can be versatile for both in and out.”

While the Kangaroos sit at 0-3, they have lost by an average margin of 21 points. After facing two teams that suffered just nine losses each last season, the Cyclones will certainly welcome a struggling team before they head off to the Bahamas.

However, despite the struggles UMKC has faced, the Cyclones know they can’t take them lightly, especially with the rebounding and turnover struggles Iowa State has been plagued with.

“We all know that our performance hasn’t been acceptable,” said junior Meredith Burkhall. “We know that we need to step it up [Monday] and this team needs post production.”