AMES — For what seems like the first time in ages, Iowa State (11-14, 5-9) is back on its home floor against an unranked opponent, hosting the Texas Tech Lady Raiders (7-18, 1-13) this afternoon at Hilton. (3 PM on Cyclones.T.V.)
The Cyclones are coming off an resilient three-point upset over TCU, one in which Bridget Carleton dropped in 26 points to upend the Horned Frogs. It was the fourth road win of the season for ISU, who now has won four out of five games in conference play away from Hilton.
Head coach Bill Fennelly and his players have an idea for why this might be the case.
“We are such a close team it’s actually really amazing,” guard Nia Washington said during Friday’s media availability.
“When you go on the road, it’s 25 to 30 people that are on that plane and that’s it. You bond real quickly. I think there’s probably, for this group, a little less pressure. They’re finding ways to compete on the road,” Fennelly said.
Back at Hilton, Fennelly suggested a couple changes that could possibly improve the team’s shooting, and overall performance. The team shot around at Hilton on Friday afternoon, a day earlier than normal. Fennelly, in a somewhat jokingly manner, also threw out the idea of wearing their red uniforms, which they normally only wear during away games.
When asked how they can make sure to replicate those same performances, junior Claire Ricketts said it’s the little things that matter.
“I think we need to focus a little bit more, [having] more attention to detail. Not let any plays slip off,” said Ricketts, who finished TCU’s game by setting career-highs with both 13 rebounds and 6 blocks.
Ricketts has seen an uptick in minutes over the past month, and with the recent news of Bride Kennedy-Hopoate officially being sideline for the remainder of the season, the Cyclones will continue to rely on her to do the dirty work.
“Her ability to rebound and play post defense has been critical,” said Fennelly. “She appreciates her role on this team, [and] she understands where she can impact success.”
Texas Tech has only won one conference game all season long, and come into this matchup on a seven-game losing streak.
This game should serve as an opportunity to achieve the first season sweep for Iowa State, while also giving the fans in Ames a win that they’ve been waiting to see for too long.