AMES — Iowa State women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly has made it known he wants to play Jadda Buckley off the ball more this season. He wants to put his junior guard in more positions to score, rather than pass first as a point guard.
Fennelly will have to wait to get his wish as Buckley will be the team’s starter at point guard when Briar Cliff visits Hilton Coliseum for an exhibition Sunday afternoon at 1.
“Right now, we just don’t have anyone else that probably can do it at the level she can,” Fennelly said. “And if you are trying to get your best players on the court, that means that’s where she is going to play.”
Buckley averaged 11.4 points per game during her redshirt sophomore season and was named honorable mention All-Big 12. It was her first year back from a foot injury that cut her true sophomore season short after only nine games.
She was a unanimous selection to the All-Big 12 Freshman Team in 2013-14 after averaging 10.9 points and 3.3 assists per game, but Fennelly was hoping to put her in more spots to play as a pure scorer.
Fennelly will even encourage her to take bad shots in practice to try and change her mindset on the floor.
While Buckley will be the main ball handler, Iowa State does have options behind her if they want to get her off the ball. Freshman Nia Washington will get the first crack at point guard and, depending on the defense, Emily Durr is another option once Fennelly and company decide to transition Buckley to the other guard position.
What to expect against Briar Cliff
The exhibition game is the one guaranteed outing that everyone will see playing time. And that will be the case when the Cyclones take on the Chargers. But that isn’t the most curious thing on Fennelly’s mind.
The biggest thing for Fennelly on Sunday is whether or not the stuff his team is practicing are transitioning to live-game action. Is Iowa State running the offense and defense correctly? Can the newcomers adjust to different to lineups? Those sort of things.
While Fennelly is looking at those areas during the game, he is most excited about actually being back at Hilton and it going through the typical gameday routine. Get up, have breakfast, go to shoot around, arrive at Hilton and so forth. So far this offseason, the Iowa State women’s basketball hasn’t practiced at Hilton at all. So being back underneath the lights and being in front of the fans is what Fennelly and his team are looking forward too.
As previously mentioned, Buckley will be starting at point guard for the Cyclones.
But who will be the four players next to her against the Chargers?
The remaining portions of the lineup will be: TeeTee Starks at the 2, Bridget Carleton at the 3, Seanna Johnson at the 4 and Meredith Burkhall at the 5 with Vanderbilt transfer Heather Bowie as the first one of the bench.
Three Cyclones are dealing with injuries at the moment. Freshmen Adriana Camber and Aliyah Konate will not play against Briar Cliff. While Jordan Jensen will be questionable to play due to a knee injury.