AMES — Dig into the archives and look for the last time the Cyclones dropped a season opener…We’ll save you some time. Iowa State has yet to do so with Bill Fennelly at the helm.
The Cyclones will look to win their 23rd straight season debut today at noon against South Dakota (on Cyclones.tv).
While many are anxious to see how this team handles adversity in the coming months, it’s also fair to be optimistic about what we have seen so far.
Three things to watch for in the opener are…
Making adjustments on the fly
Fennelly alluded to changing his rotation based on what the matchup presented, pointing to South Dakota as a guard-dominated team where Iowa State will likely counter with smaller lineups.
“It’s Bridget and nine others,” said Fennelly.
In years past, the Cyclones have stuck to a seven to or eight woman rotation.
If the exhibition was any indicator, this team could benefit from the surprising amount of depth this young squad has.
Madison Wise, Kristen Scott, and Rae Johnson will all play starting roles if called upon. The lack of star-power on this roster will hopefully be counteracted by the unique skillsets that Fennelly has to work with.
Adriana Camber passes the eye test
The entire ISU defense was solid at defending the perimeter and Adriana Camber particularly stood out. Not only did she finish with four steals, but the sophomore out of Sweden also added 15 points as well.
After only averaging around 7.5 minutes per game last season, expect Camber to breakout in her second season and become a consistent starter.
The arrow stays pointing up
Although Fennelly was proud of his program, he acknowledged the excellence surrounding the Big 12.
“The only problem is Baylor was number one, Texas was number two, West Virginia was number five,” Fennelly said. “I guess that part of it was a little bit disturbing, but some things don’t change.”