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By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher
Say what you want about Iowa State women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly.
You can’t call the man a liar.
"It’s the worst offseason that we’ve ever had," Fennelly said during media day, that went down on Tuesday in Ames.
"We had more people hurt than we’ve ever had hurt. There is a great concern that we’re not as ready to go with the start of practice as I’d like to be."
The good news is that besides junior forward Amanda Zimmerman, every member of Fennelly’s 2011-12 squad could play if the Cyclones had to begin their season right now.
"It’s just been a lot of nagging stuff, which means that you’re not out of games, but Anna Prins sat out two months this summer doing nothing," Fennelly said. "Lauren Mansfield was hurt for a while. Every single one of them had something go wrong that took them out of work in the offseason. That’s not a good thing."
"But that’s life. I’m not about making excuses for anything. That’s just the way that it is."
Iowa State will unofficially tip off its season in an exhibition on Nov. 1, as Coe College will come to town. The regular season opener is on Nov. 11, vs. Houston Baptist.
MANSFIELD TO OFF-GUARD: Lauren Mansfield was Iowa State’s point guard in 2010-11. If all goes according to plan, that won’t be the case this season.
"We’d like to move Lauren to off-guard because of our trouble to score," said Fennelly. "In our six games last year where she scored the most points, in five of them she played off guard."
Now, onto the obvious question. If Mansfield is playing the two, who will run the show for the Cyclones? Practice began on Sunday and two players exclusively took all of the reps at point guard for Iowa State.
Senior Chassidy Cole and true freshman Nikki Moody, who hails from Euless, Tex.
"If that doesn’t work, we will do what we don’t want to do, but we would move Lauren back," Fennelly said. "If someone emerges as a better perimeter player, we always have that luxury because Lauren played point guard last year.
"I told Nikki that there isn’t a (freshman) point guard in the country who has a better chance to play than her," said Fennelly. "The position is wide open."
Another freshman who you need to know before the season begins is Brynn Williamson, of Kansas City, Mo.
Williamson is a 5-foot-11 wing, who will likely see the court.
"Brynn gives us length, size and scoring ability on the wing," said Fennelly.
=== QUOTEABLE ===
Bill Fennelly on finding a "face" for the program…
"If I’m the face of the program, we have a major problem."
Bill Fennelly on Anna Prins’ injury history…
"Anna has missed at least 60 days in each of her first two years. She was out from the middle of July until about a week ago. Her history is not one to stay healthy over an extended amount of time
. Hopefully now that she’s a junior, maybe all of that stuff is behind her. In a weird way, that’s behind her and she’s saved some energy for her last two years. There’s that way to look at it I guess.”
Bill Fennelly on Hallie Christopherson’s future…
"I think that she is someone who really has a chance to be one of the best players we have had here and put her name on a list of really good players."
Bill Fennelly on finding a surprise…
"In all of the years I’ve been here I’ve always said that the good teams we’ve had, there has been a surprise. We need a surprise."
NOTE: That CycloneFanatic.com will provide plenty more coverage of women’s basketball media day over the next week. Our women’s basketball ace Ian Smith was on the ground Tuesday and I’ll post some videos from the event as well.