Williams Blog: 3-29 Cyclone notebook

By Chris Williams, Publisher

I think that it is fitting for me to begin today’s blog with a few thoughts on women’s basketball. Bill Fennelly’s Cyclones lost to UCONN yesterday by a 74-36 final.

No, it wasn’t pretty. Yesterday was the first time that I had ever actually sat down to watch an entire UCONN game. In my mind, I expected the Huskies to be good. I had no idea that they would be that dominating.

The fact that women’s basketball doesn’t have a 10-second rule really changes the game when you’re playing UCONN. With the 30-second shot clock, there were many times when Iowa State would cross half court with like 14-seocnds to shoot. That doesn’t leave a ton of time to run an offense or get a clean shot off for that matter.

Forget about the UCONN game though. If somebody had offered up a Sweet 16 appearance to you in November, would you have taken it? You bet you would have.

This team overachieved all season long. They did it with outstanding play at the point guard position, role players doing their jobs efficiently and phenomenal coaching.

Just quickly looking ahead to next season, the Cyclones will lose Alison Lacey, Denae Stuckey, Shellie Mossman Genesis Lightbourne and Anna Florzak.

The big question for next year’s team will be based around point guard play. Whitney Williams will be in the conversation but let’s introduce Midland (Texas) College point guard Lauren Mansfield into the conversation. Mansfield is a 5-foot-7 true point guard who can also knock down the three. Mansfield led her team in scoring this past season at 11.7 points per game and received all-conference honors as well.

Will she produce at the division one level? That single question could have a huge impact on the 2011 Cyclones. The post play is going to be outstanding for a long time in Ames. You can’t replace Alison Lacey. But this team needs to find a Trent Dilfer (you get my point) type of point guard to lead the team next season.

In taking a quick look at the year’s final statistics, here are a few items of note that stand out to me.

– Alison Lacey’s assist-to-turnover ratio was 187 to 63. That’s why this team won Fanatics. She also averaged 15.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.

– Kelsey Bolte was a 41 percent 3-point shooter this season while averaging 12.3 points per game.

– Freshman Chelsea Poppens led the team in rebounding with 7.2 a game.

– Anna Prins averaged 9.9 points a game to lead all frontcourt players. She was also a 40 percent 3-point shooter.

– This team will drastically miss Denae Stuckey next season. Stuckey averaged 6.1 rebounds a game for the Cyclones while recording a team-high 41 steals. The Cyclones will need somebody to replace her scrappiness next season. The early candidate to do that is Jessica Schroll.

Notebook: MBB recruiting nuggets

I’ve recently learned that 2010 SG prospect Bo Barnes will be officially visiting Iowa State on April 9. I’ve posted one of Barnes’ highlight videos up above. Barnes is a 6-foot-4, 190-pound shooting specialist out of Phoenix Westwind Prep International in Arizona.

All you have to do is watch Barnes’ tape to see that the prospect can shoot. But why is he still around right now? There has to be some sort of a deficiency in his game. I’m not trying to be a pessimist here. Just calling it like it is.

Barnes committed to Liberty in 2009. After Liberty experienced a coaching change, he went the prep route last season. He currently boasts a handful of mid-major offers.

The basketball recruiting trail will enter a dead period on Thursday at noon for a week. The spring signing period begins on April 14.

You can discuss this topic with other Fanatics today by CLICKING HERE.

In another basketball recruiting note, 2010 signee Melvin Ejim was recently named New Hampshire’s 2010 Gatorade boys Basketball Player of the Year. Ejim averaged 13.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals last season for the Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H.

“Melvin is probably the most college-ready athlete we have in our program,” said Brewster Academy head coach Jason Smith in an Iowa State release. “Physically and mentally, he really stands out. The way he defends and plays so hard all the time, he is truly one of the most impressive players I’ve seen.”

Also, 2010 JUCO prospect John Wilkins did visit Indiana this weekend. Based off of the information that I have, he did not commit to the Hoosiers.

Spring football

If you haven’t noticed by now, I recently updated our front-page poll question.

Today’s question is: Who will Iowa State’s leading receiver be next season?

Right now, the majority of you have voted for Darius Reynolds over Darius Darks, Jake Williams, Sedrick Johnson and “other.”

This surprises me. Don’t get me wrong. I realize that Reynolds has a crazy amount of raw talent. But what have we actually seen him do during his time at Iowa State? Before breaking his leg last season, Reynolds was banged up and caught 13 passes for 72 yards in four games. It’s not like the other guys set the world on fire but still, Reynolds is a big question mark right now. He should be at least. I’m not bagging on the guy, just trying to even out expectations.

I would vote for Sedrick Johnson. If he’s healthy, he’s the guy. That is more the opinion of people who know a lot more about football than I do than it is my own. Darius Darks could be in that conversation as well. I know that a lot of fans gave up on these guys last year but the coaching staff hasn’t. They still believe in the pair. Based off of every conversation that I’ve had about receivers, injuries were the main reason for their lousy numbers as season ago.

We’ll have plenty of spring football coverage for you later this week. I plan on interviewing Iowa State’s secondary coach Bob Elliott tomorrow after practice and wide receivers coach Luke Wells on Thursday.