On Tuesday morning in Hilton Coliseum, the Iowa State women’s basketball team won’t be facing its strongest opponent of the season in a Texas Southern team that finished last year at .500.
They are, however, facing some unique challenges that don’t present themselves during conference season. After eight full days without a game, the Cyclones will be asked to ramp things back up with an early, 11:00 a.m. tip.
The off day’s helped the team, but came at a unique cost with that many of them being played in a row.
“I think we needed some time off,” head coach Bill Fennelly said. “We just have a really disjointed schedule. So, we started off playing two games quickly and then take a nine-day break, but the off days were good.”
The Cyclones utilized a pair of off days following their game against Drake and used the middle of last week to work on their own playbook. The gap in between games allowed the team to get presumably as healthy as it has so far this season.
Iowa State has been battling nagging injuries to a couple of players including a back issue that kept Kristin Scott on a minutes-restriction in the first games of the year.
In the pair of games that the leading returning scorer has played, Scott scored 30 points combined while averaging just 18 minutes.
The question, now, turns to how long we will see Scott on the court on Tuesday?
Ashley Joens is the only play that has scored more than Scott, even with her restrictions, averaging 20.5 points per game so far.
As a Iowan growing up, Joens recalls going to games as a young girl and likes that the kids in the stand can look up to her and her teammates during the school day game.
“ I always looked up to the players,” Joens said. “Just to be able to be up there and have all these kids come [will be cool], and they can look up to us and see how we carry ourselves.”
Fennelly joked that he would be rifling through his Tylenol with the early game, but also said it’s important to some of these kids. They’re incredibly impressionable.
“I think what it does is bring young people into an environment that maybe they’ve never been to,” Fennelly said. “Maybe it’s their first exposure to a college event and first exposure to Iowa State. It’s a very unique thing in women’s basketball. I don’t think many of us are overly thrilled about playing a morning game, but it’s great for the kids.”
Fans can tune into the game on Cyclones.tv.