You might think that Jocelyn Anderson would be extra nervous today while making her first start for the Iowa State women's basketball team, but she says that's not the case.

"I'm always nervous, so there's no change," she said.

Anderson becomes the Cyclones' starting center in tonight's game against Nebraska at Hilton Coliseum. She has suddenly become a pivotal player for Iowa State's fortunes after center Nicky Wieben was lost for the season with a torn knee ligament.

Not only do the Cyclones (12-4, 1-2 Big 12 Conference) lose Wieben, who was averaging 12.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game, but Anderson becomes the team's lone true center. When the 6-foot-4 Anderson needs a rest, either Amanda Nisleit or Genesis Lightbourne, a pair of 6-foot forwards, will play center.

"We'll be the smallest team in the country," Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said, only half-joking. "We don't have anyone left; we have nine healthy bodies."

However, Fennelly said he thinks Anderson, in her first season at Iowa State after playing two years at Des Moines Area Community College, is up to the challenge. She averaged 5.2 points and 4.4 rebounds as a reserve.

"She's worked real hard and the kids like playing with her," Fennelly said. "She's just a kid that needs a little confidence."

Iowa State seemed deep inside with four post players at the end of last season. However, Rachel Pierson transferred, and now Toccara Ross and Wieben have been lost with torn anterior cruciate ligaments in the span of four weeks.

That leaves Anderson as the lone healthy inside player. Coming out of Prairie Valley High School, she had to spend two seasons at DMACC getting stronger and polishing her skills to prepare for a Division I opportunity.

"The pace is a lot faster," Anderson said. "The girls are bigger. It's just something to get used to."

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