Three takeaways: Iowa State stunned by Central Michigan

Freshman guard Rae Johnson grabs the ball from her teammate as Iowa State defeats UMKC 61-45 on Nov. 20. Johnson had two rebounds and two assists. 

Noah Rohlfing

The Bahamas were anything but paradise for the Iowa State women’s basketball team Saturday evening.

Here are three takeaways from the Cyclones’ 81-60 loss to Central Michigan.

Consistently inconsistent

The Cyclones were expected to struggle at the beginning of the season without a set starting lineup and with a crop of talented-but-inexperienced freshmen entering the fray. To say that their current offensive struggles are surprising, though, is a massive understatement.

Take one look at the second quarter box score, and it’s not hard to see where the Cyclones lost control of this game. Shooting only 10 times in 10 minutes of play is bad enough, but only shooting 20 percent on those attempts is even worse. The Cyclones have had issues with consistency all season bar the South Dakota game, but Iowa State might have hit a low on Saturday.

After shooting 9-for-18 in the first quarter, the Cyclones shot 11-for-38 the rest of the game. That’s 28.9 percent, and against quality opposition that’s not going to cut it. The Cyclones’ defense will still keep them in games, and Central Michigan is not a bad opponent, but the offensive futility that the Cyclones displayed against the Chippewas will not help them make the NCAA tournament this season.

Post production takes a hit

Iowa State got out-rebounded for only the second time all season on Saturday, and it was symptomatic of another rough day for Iowa State post players. Not one post player had more than eight points for the Cyclones, and one day after a promising showing, the three main post contributors shot a combined 7-for-20 from the field. No matter who the opponent is, that won’t get it done for the Cyclones.

Freshman center Kristin Scott received her first start on Saturday and was the most effective of the posts with eight points and nine rebounds. However, she took 11 shots to get those eight points, only hitting three of her attempts.

Growing pains show as point guard question remains

The growing pains for this young Cyclone team are very apparent. Particularly, the lack of a true point guard is a big sore spot for Iowa State at the moment. The Cyclones only managed 12 assists Saturday night, compared to 20 by their counterparts from Mount Pleasant, Mich. The Cyclones also had 14 turnovers, making this the fourth game in five that the Cyclones have a negative assist-to-turnover ratio.

While senior guard Emily Durr is running the offense at the moment, she is more of a natural shooting guard. Sophomore guard Nia Washington and freshman Rae Johnson have both shown flashes but have yet to put together a complete game, and freshman Madison Wise has been promising, but was shut out on Saturday, finishing with no points and no assists.

With tough games in the coming weeks against Drake and Iowa approaching, the Cyclones will have to carve out an identity and find a floor general to limit the turnovers and take command of the offensive flow.