Emily Durr had a decent start to her Iowa State career.
The former 4-star recruit (according to prospectnations.com) appeared in all 61 games the Cyclones played during her freshman and sophomore seasons, averaging 4.8 and 5.6 points per game (per season).
However, Durr’s first two years in Ames didn’t go exactly the way she and ISU coach Bill Fennelly had hoped for. After last season, Durr and Fennelly talked about her past, and her future role with the cardinal and gold.
“I really wanted to take a bigger role this year,” Durr said about her spring conversation with Fennelly. “I feel more mature. I feel like the pace of the game is a lot slower for me, and I think that comes maturity.”
During that conversation, Fennelly spoke about recruiting other players at her position and was honest with Durr that her playing time may be affected. He also stated that she had an advantage over potential incoming players. Durr already knew the what the coaches expected out of the Cyclones and the style of play that is run in Ames.
“I think Emily Durr will be the first one to tell you she didn’t work as hard as she could have and do the things she needed to play,” Fennelly said.
Durr took the talk with her head coach to heart. She realized what she needed to do to ensure the 2016-17 season wasn’t going to wind up being like her first two collegiate seasons.
The first thing she needed to do was get in shape.
Last offseason, Iowa State’s new strength coach, Cassandra Baier, really pushed Durr. The result was Durr getting into the best shape of her career and it has helped her shooting, which showed in the Cyclones’ last game.
Against Arkansas State, Durr made her first five shots and finished with 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting.
And then there’s defense…
“When you’re in the game and you’re defending hard, you get to stay in the game a little longer,” Fennelly said on the importance defending.
If a player is playing solid defense, it allows more forgiveness for an iffy start on offense. Durr’s increased defensive flurry has allowed her to now be one of the first players off the bench for the Cyclones.
Even though Iowa State has only played five games of its 2016-17 schedule, Fennelly has made it clear that Durr will have a substantial impact on the Cyclones’ season.
“We’ve gone from, ‘Gosh, Emily goes in, I hope she makes a shot,’ to now, ‘Emily’s going to impact the success of our team.’”