AMES, Iowa. — Following two straight WNIT seasons, the Iowa Hawkeyes come to Ames with NCAA tournament intentions nine games into the season. While Bill Fennelly has yet to lose to the Hawkeyes in Hilton, this one might be the toughest test he’s faced. (6:30 p.m. on Cyclones T.V.)
Iowa is currently 8-1 on the year with the sole loss being to No. 13 Florida State 94-93.
Hawkeyes Head Coach Lisa Bluder has her squad playing their best basketball, with their league-best assist rate contributing to their 8th ranked offense in the early point of the season.
Here are three things I’m looking for in tonight’s game.
Shots from deep
With four players shooting 40 percent or better from deep, (that’s including Nia Washington’s 2-4), I’m curious to see if Bridget Carleton, Adriana Camber, and Emily Durr, can continue to hit at such a high rate.
After suffering a knee injury in the season opener, Durr has responded without missing a beat, shooting an impressive 53.6 percent from three-point range, good for 10th in the nation.
Even with the roster changes from last season, the identity of this Cyclones team hasn’t changed. Iowa State needs to shoot the 3-ball like they always have to win games.
I’m hoping this game is one where they can catch fire.
Carleton carrying the load
Carleton enters this game off a 30 point performance, and must quickly get ready for a rivalry matchup against the Hawkeyes.
Just receiving Big 12 Co-Player of the week honors, Carleton is the only power-five player averaging 20 points, six rebounds, and three assists.
Carleton had 18 points on the road in last year’s loss, and it will be fun to watch her take on the challenge again this year.
Containing the Hawkeyes
Similar to the way Iowa State leans on Carleton, the Hawkeyes are led by Junior forward Megan Gustafson. A preseason Big-Ten team selection, Gustafson is averaging an astounding 22.3 points and 12.7 rebounds per game.
In their only loss to Florida State, the six-foot-three forward had 34 points on 83% shooting from the field.
Look to see Iowa State mix up the defensive coverages on the fly, adjusting based on how well the Iowa offense, and specifically Gustafson, start out.
A win here could give a big boost to this team moving forward.
Fennelly hasn’t lost this matchup at home, and you can bet his team will fight to keep that streak alive tonight.