Iowa State junior guard Emily Durr runs past Oklahoma sophomore forward Ijeoma Odimgbe at the basketball game on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, at Hilton Coliseum in Ames. Photo by: Lani Tons
The Iowa State women’s basketball team has had four constant starters this season in Jadda Buckley, Bridget Carleton, Seanna Johnson and Meredith Burkhall. But never five.
The fifth spot in the Cyclones’ lineup has been in constant flux all season long. One moment it is TeeTee Starks. The next it is Heather Bowe. Recently it has been Emily Durr. Heading into Iowa State’s match up with the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman tonight, Cyclone head coach Bill Fennelly still isn’t sure who he will go with. That was the case as of Monday, at least.
“We’ll kind of take it game to game,” Fennelly said on how Iowa State will approach its lineup. “We’ll see how practice goes the next couple days and make the decision (on who starts against Oklahoma), but we kind of have to be that way, I think, because we have some kids that add different skill sets.”
Bowe brings needed size and physicality down low for Iowa State. She is the second tallest player on the roster and has played quality minutes for the Cyclones. Starks is one of Iowa State’s best defenders and Durr provides another scoring threat.
After starting 9-2 this season, the Cyclones hit a wall at the start of Big 12 as they are tied for eighth in the conference with TCU at 2-6 in league play.
“It is a challenge, and it’s not, it’s probably not the best way to go about it,” Fennelly said. “Everyone wants to know about, what’s my role? Well, your role is to go in the game and play your guts out and do something good, that’s your role, but some people want to know, ‘When do I go in and how do I rotate? It’s just, we tired that, and it wasn’t working.”
As it stands, Iowa State believes the mix-and-match rotation gives it the best shot to win games going forward. It helped produced a win against Kansas State. However, the Sooners are a different threat than the Wildcats.
Oklahoma is one of the few teams in the Big 12 that runs multiple defenses. Sometimes the Sooners run a half-court press, then switch to man-to-man and then a 1-3 zone. That sort of defense gave Iowa State fits during its first game Oklahoma, when it lost 67-57.
The Cyclones are typically a solid shooting team but that was not the case during round one against Oklahoma, where Iowa State shot 33.9 percent from the floor and a lowly 22.2 percent from behind the 3-point arc.