AMES — After sophomore guard Jadda Buckley scored only four points and played a total of 24 minutes in two games during Iowa State’s Thanksgiving trip to California, Bill Fennelly knew something needed to change.
“I thought her demeanor and her work habits weren’t what is normal for Jadda,” Fennelly said on Friday. “She agreed with that.”
So when the Cyclones returned home from California, Fennelly met with Buckley with hopes of turning things around.
“We just talked about things that she wasn’t doing,” Fennelly said. “She wasn’t playing the way she’s capable.”
The meeting may have been just the wake up call Buckley needed. Buckley has scored in double-figures in both of the Cyclones’ games since returning from California. Her 13 point effort vs. Stony Brook led to a 25-point outburst in Thursay’s 76-67 loss at Iowa.
Even though the Cyclones came up short against the Hawkeyes as a team, it was clear who the best player on the floor was for most of the game.
“I thought Jadda was the best player in the game,” Fennelly said. “She was aggressive. Defensively I thought she was as good as she’s been, by far the best defensive player in the game for us.”
As a member of the Big 12’s All-Freshman team, Buckley averaged 10.9 points per game last season. If the Cyclones have hopes of returning to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth year in a row, they will need Buckley to continue playing at a high-level.
“She had a good week. She had a good game against Stony Brook, she had a great game last night,” Fennelly said. “Hopefully moving forward that will give her a chance to build on that as she moves into what we’re going to see down the road, especially in the Big 12.”
The Cyclones (5-2) will head back to Hilton Colisum on Sunday to host Arkansas Pine-Bluff at noon.