Head coach Bill Fennelly calls out to the Cyclones at the Oklahoma game on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, at Hilton Coliseum in Ames. Photo by: Lani Tons
The Iowa State women’s basketball team currently possesses a 13-11 overall record and is 4-9 in conference play. If the Cyclones hope to make the postseason in any form, there is a lot riding on this week with only five games left on the schedule.
“I think it’s really big,” said ISU coach Bill Fennelly. “I think if there’s any hope of playing in some kind of postseason, you’ve got to play well this week.”
Iowa State will host Texas Tech at 7 p.m. tonight and West Virginia at noon on Saturday. Claiming wins over the Red Raiders and the Mountaineers would help the Cyclones inch their way to a .500 finish, which is a requirement for the Women’s NIT (the most likely postseason tournament Iowa State might play in).
Another win over West Virginia, a team that has been in the top-25 throughout this season, could be a victory to potentially help Iowa State sneak into the NCAA Tournament.
“There’s a lot of possibilities and it’s certainly a big hill to climb for us do that,” Fennelly said. “But the why our league is, it looks like you’ve got the top four and then after that, it’s a dog fight. When you play in this conference, you get into that top five, six spot, there’s some possibilities there leading into the conference tournament.”
Iowa State is coming off a game against Kansas State that saw the Cyclones do something in a large amounts that it normally never does: foul.
The Cyclones fouled the Wildcats 21 times down in Manhattan. Kansas State shot 27 free throws against Iowa State. The performance against the Wildcats was reminiscent to the Cyclones’ first meeting against the Red Raiders earlier this season.
Texas Tech went 25-of-26 from the line against Iowa State earlier this season. The Cyclones only went 4-of-7. Fennelly said that cannot be the case again this time around if Iowa State wants to win this game.
While the Cyclones are a mere 4-9 in Big 12 play, there is still a possibility of them getting into the NCAA Tournament.
Currently, in ESPN’s latest women’s bracketology, it has the top five teams in the Big 12: No. 8 Texas, No. 4 Baylor, No. 19 Oklahoma, No. 24 Kansas State and West Virginia. Iowa State currently sits at sixth place.
With two opponents who are and have been ranked this season left on their schedule, Texas and West Virginia, the Cyclones haven’t given up hope on their NCAA chances.
“It’s in the back of our mind but we also need to focus on the game that we have coming up and then the wins and losses will come,” said ISU guard Emily Durr. “We hope we can make the tournament but we’ll see.”
Iowa State certainly knows that another loss will end that conversation.
“There’s no question that what faces us is important,” Fennelly said. “You have play really well, and if you don’t, you don’t deserve to even be thinking about playing in the postseason. All those things have to come together and it certainly starts with what happens this week.”