AMES – There are a lot of things going on Saturday for the Iowa State women’s basketball team (17-10, 8-8 Big 12).
The Cyclones will honor three seniors, Nikki Moody, Brynn Williamson, and Fallon Ellis.
Head coach Bill Fennelly will get his first opportunity to achieve his 600th career coaching victory.
Moody is one assist away from becoming the all-time leading assister in program history.
Oh, and the Cyclones will take on the third-ranked and Big 12 regular season champion, Baylor Bears (26-2, 15-1 Big 12).
“This time of year there’s always a lot of things,” Fennelly said. “And everyone’s got different things on their mind. For the seniors they’re thinking of one thing and the freshmen are thinking of something completely different.”
The seniors making their postgame speeches are a Senior Day tradition – they are also some of the biggest Senior Day distractions. This season the seniors havepre-taped their speeches to create one less distraction.
“They’re in the warm up worrying about what their speech is instead of playing,” Fennelly said. “So we tried to clean that up a bit. It still gives them a chance to do what they normally do and thank the people that they need to thank but now they don’t have to worry about it.”
With Moody, who is averaging close to seven assists per game, the chase for the record shouldn’t be a distraction for long. It could even be resolved on the first Iowa State offensive possession.
According to Fennelly, the possibility of his 600th win isn’t too distracting either.
“It is what it is,” Fennelly said. “If you coach long enough and have good enough players, you’re going to win your share of games. Whenever that number comes, we’ll get it.”
The final distraction is the task of facing Baylor. Despite a loss to Oklahoma earlier this week, the Bears have already clinched their sixth Big 12 regular season title and are chasing a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
“Our last home game here is going to be against the best, so we need to come with our best,” Fennelly said. “We haven’t even given them a game the last few years. So hopefully we’re a little more prepared, and do the things that give yourself a chance to compete with a great team.”
Baylor defeated Iowa State 79-47 on Jan. 13. The Cyclones shot 20 percent from the floor and were 7-of-33 from behind the 3-point arc.
The Cyclones were never really in the game, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a chance Saturday.
Iowa State is 3-1 all-time at Hilton Coliseum against third-ranked teams, including the win over Texas earlier this year.
“For us it’s just going to be knowing that we can play with them,” Williamson said. “Not just the game plan, but just having the mindset that you can win and beat them is going to be really important for us.”
There are a lot of things going on around the Iowa State women on Saturday.
Will they be able to handle them all?
Nikki Moody had the perfect answer to that question when asked what she said in her Senior Day speech.
The Bears and Cyclones will tip off at 3 p.m. in Hilton Coliseum. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Network.