The Iowa State women’s basketball team has a new look, 16 games into the season.
That’s at least a look that we saw in its win over Oklahoma State on Sunday, and one that could change, easily, when Kansas State comes to Hilton Coliseum on Wednesday (6:30 p.m. Cyclones.tv).
As a team that was riddled with depth issues not even three weeks ago tries to navigate through an 18-game Big 12 schedule, adjustments will be made frequently.
“I’m not just going to sit here and just keep doing the same thing,” Bill Fennelly said. “I’ve made more mistakes than any person in our building, but I’m not just going to sit here and keep trying something that isn’t working. We’re just going to keep trying stuff. Our kids have embraced it.”
Fennelly noted that things were going to change going into the Oklahoma State game, and he started the 40 minutes off with a brand-new starting five.
He even played five different point guards in the first half, and said that had he had a sixth, he’d play her, too.
“It is what it is,” Fennelly said. “Competition is a good thing and sometimes you’ve got to make changes. I’d be shocked if we don’t change again before Wednesday. We’ve just got to keep finding ways. We’re on our sixth or seventh different style of play.”
Fennelly referenced the core of his team as three players: Ashley Joens, Kristin Scott, and Adriana Camber.
He plans on keeping those three players in the game as long as they avoid foul trouble.
“The other people around that group will be determined by how they play, how they practice, and the [opponent’s] style of play,” Fennelly said. “The style of play we will see Wednesday is completely different than what we’ve seen the last two games. Does that mean your lineup is a little bit different? Probably.”
The Cyclones are coming off of two straight losses at home and the pressure to get back in the win column with a couple of opportunities ahead of a matchup with No. 2 Baylor is immense.
That’s why Sunday was and is so big.
“I think [it could be a momentum swing],” Scott said. “We haven’t been playing our best at Hilton, so these next two opportunities are very big for us. Coming off of a win [makes it easier].”
While Iowa State is trying to garner some real momentum for the first time this season, the team is witnessing the return of junior Madison Wise to the lineup, at the same time. Even though she’s still working to play at 100 percent, Wise gives her team an extra weapon that they haven’t had for a majority of the year.
“Madison Wise has been great for us her whole career here,” senior Adriana Camber said. “With some of us playing 40 minutes, it’s kind of heavy on you, especially in a Big 12 season. Now, we have four games in 10 days, so having someone that can come in and play 25 minutes is big for us.”
Iowa State will try to capitalize on a pair of opportunities to get its Big 12 record above .500 again.
They need to come together right now, more than ever this year, and that’s just what the coaching staff wants to happen.
“That was the number one thing I tried to articulate to them after the game, is that we came back three times from double-digit deficits and that takes a lot,” Fennelly said. “The number one thing, I think, it takes is a group that is committed to trying to do the right things and play together.
“We’re going to adjust, adapt, and overcome – like I tell our players – and that’s what we’re going to try and do on Wednesday,” Fennelly said.