ISU women travel to West Virginia amid increasing injuries


Max Goldberg/Iowa State Daily

The Cyclones huddle up during an injury timeout Jan. 23 in Hilton Coliseum against the Baylor Bears.  The Cyclones lost 77-61. 

Luke Manderfeld

It’s been no secret this season that the Cyclones have dealt with more than their fair share of injuries. Over the past few weeks, they have taken their toll. 

At the beginning of the season, before Big 12 play, the team battled through the injuries and remained largely successful. But as the competition has increased, so have the number of injuries.

Iowa State (12-10, 4-7 Big 12) enters Wednesday’s game against West Virginia (18-6, 7-4 Big 12) in Morgantown, W.V., with six losses in its past seven games, and the injuries haven’t stopped piling up. 

Sophomore guard Emily Durr is the most recent one to the list. She has been placed in a boot with what ISU coach Bill Fennelly called an “onset of a stress fracture.” The injury is similar to what guard Jadda Buckley has been dealing with all season.  

“I think right now, it’s managing everything we can to get them through the last three weeks,” Fennelly said. “Like everyone else, managing reps and minutes in practice has been the No. 1 thing that we’ve had to do here recently.” 

Fennelly has wanted to change part of practice because of the recent tough stretch. But the coaching staff’s desire to ramp up practice activities have been met with more injuries.

“If you want to change things sometimes, you can’t because of availability,” Fennelly said. “We need to practice longer and harder, but we can’t. Some of the things that I would want to do and have tough practices… you can’t do that. It’s just not feasible.”

ISU guard Seanna Johnson has been one of the players who has been limited in practice because of a left knee injury. Johnson has used her small practice time to evaluate other players. 

“It’s been challenging, but I think its gives opportunities to players to step up,” Johnson said. “Especially to the players that don’t play a lot. I think the players who don’t practice a lot, it gives you an opportunity to see what your teammates are made of.”

The team’s limitation of Johnson seems to have helped. 

After Johnson injured her knee Jan. 23, a Saturday, she returned for a game on Jan. 27, a Wednesday, against TCU. Johnson struggled in that game, putting up three points, but has been back to tip-top form since, averaging 18 points and 8.3 rebounds in the three games. 

But that doesn’t mean injuries aren’t affecting other players’ performance on the court. Even so, Fennelly said there isn’t any excuse for the poor play. 

“The worst thing you can do is feel sorry for yourself when things aren’t going well,” Fennelly said. “It’s just like I’ve always said, the best thing you can do is making sure they’re held accountable and making sure they do their job and finish the season.”

Leaving Morgantown with a win won’t be easy. The Mountaineers sit fourth in the conference and has put up close games with top-ranked teams Baylor and Texas. 

“They have a good balance of talent, size and experience and they’ve always played really hard,” Fennelly said. “They’ve been a team that loves to compete. At the end of the year, I would be shock if they’re not a really good seed in the NCAA tournament and they’ll be a tough out because they don’t have any glaring weakness.”