Iowa State claims a strong, but ugly win over University of Missouri-Kansas City

Iowa State freshman Madison Wise lays the ball in late in the first half against UMKC.

Garrett Kroeger

From the tip-off to the ending buzzer, it was all Iowa State on Monday night in Hilton Coliseum.

The Iowa State women’s basketball team returned home after a hard fought loss to the University of Northern Iowa Panthers to take on the University of Missouri-Kansas City ‘Roos. Unlike the UNI game, the UMKC contest wasn’t totally competitive.

The final score turned out to be 61-45 in favor of the Cyclones. The funny thing is, Iowa State was powered by players not named Bridget Carleton, who is considered the team’s best player.

“It’s critical to every team’s success,” said coach Bill Fennelly on other players easing the team’s best player’s workload. “When you get three in double-figures, beyond [Carleton], that’s good. That’s something we need to do.”

Through the first three games of the young season, Fennelly has been looking for players to step-up and help Carleton lead the Cyclones to victory. Against the ‘Roos, Fennelly’s squad found solid production from the likes of youngsters Madison Wise and Kristin Scott, along with veteran Meredith Burkhall.

Wise, who made her first career start, was contributing in a major way without scoring in bunches. She was dominant early and often on the glass. Throughout the 40 minute contest, Wise grabbed 15 rebounds.

“[Iowa State’s] shots weren’t falling,” Wise said. “So, rebounding was really important.”

The freshman also contributed 15 points. In Fennelly’s eyes, Wise also made some big time plays and defended really well in her first start.

Heading into this matchup, Fennelly stressed how he wanted his post players to have more of presence. In the Cyclones’ previous game against the Panthers, their front court was non-existent.

The four posts that are on this year’s roster (Scott, Burkhall, Bride Kennedy-Hopoate, and Claire Ricketts) combined for a mere 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting against the Panthers. On Monday, Scott and Burkhall surpassed that previous lackluster production midway through the third as they combined for 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting at that point.

Scott tallied her first double-double at Iowa State, as she scored 13 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. As for Burkhall, she was just as dominant. The 6-foot-3 post tallied 12 points and notched seven rebounds. Even Kennedy-Hopoate had a solid performance in limited action; she only played 10 minutes, but she tallied seven points and five rebounds.

“I was really pleased,” Fennelly said. “That was good. They needed that. Our post play has not been good, they would be the first to tell you that. But I thought [Scott], [Kennedy-Hopoate] and [Burkhall] were big parts of the game.”

Although Iowa State’s post players were productive, Fennelly still felt like the Cyclones underutilized them against UMKC. They didn’t get the ball to them when they needed too. However, Fennelly hopes those three players can build off this game.

“I have no complaints about our post play today,” Fennelly said.

While it was all Iowa State, there were still some negatives in the Cyclones’ performance against the ‘Roos.

Overall, Fennelly felt it was an ugly performance for his team. If one were to look at the statistics, they might agree.

Turnovers continue to plague Iowa State. The Cyclones turned over the ball 21 times against the ‘Roos.

As the game wore on, UMKC decided to pressure Iowa State. And that rattled the Cardinal and Gold. The Cyclones started ‘I don’t want it, you take it’ type of basketball.

When getting pressed, Iowa State would pass back and forth from sideline to sideline, instead of attacking and trying to score. Because of that, the Cyclones put themselves in bad situations.

In fact, they lined up wrong the first time the ‘Roos pressed them. Iowa State will need to figure how to attack that sort of defense as the season progresses if it wants to be successful according to Fennelly.

“Gotta keep working on it because of obviously, in this great modern day of video, every single team will have No. 1 on the scouting report is to press Iowa State,” Fennelly said.

Even though it was an ugly win, this was still a strong victory for a young, developing Iowa State team. And with the Junkanoo Jam coming up down in Bahamas later this week, the Cyclones are going to embrace this win.

“This is a team, no matter how we win, when we win we embrace it, celebrate it, no matter how ugly it was,” Fennelly said. “You have to give UMKC a lot of credit, they played really, really hard throughout the game. They made the game as ugly as possible, and we helped them make it ugly. Especially in the second half. But the two freshman were great. A lot of things to clean up, but hopefully we can get that started.”