On a day when Iowa State got an addition of a post player while another could be out with an injury, Bill Fennelly and his staff have a lot of things on their minds.
The biggest one, as Oklahoma State (9-2, 5-0 Big 12) comes to Ames on Wednesday night (6:30 p.m. ESPN+) might be post players.
“They’re probably playing as well as anyone in the league, being 5-0,” Fennelly said. “Natasha Mack is putting up the best numbers of maybe anyone in the country, let alone our league.”
Mack is one of the best post players in the nation, and Iowa State is preparing to play the Cowgirls potentially without its star in the post, Kristin Scott.
The Iowa State senior hit her head on the court during the third quarter of the team’s last game over Texas Tech and didn’t re-enter the contest.
It’s currently being treated as a day-to-day injury. Scott didn’t practice with the team on either Monday or Tuesday.
“She’s better,” Fennelly said. “She’s seeing the doctor today and then they’ll evaluate her again tomorrow. We’ll make that decision (on Wednesday).”
While losing Scott is already a bad thing on the defensive side of the ball, it could have an impact on the team’s offense.
Because of the way Scott handles herself on the offensive end, Iowa State would be losing a regular scoring threat that Fennelly thinks would have an even better game with against the OSU defense.
“If Scott doesn’t play, it’s 26-28 minutes,” Fennelly said. “It’s 11-15 points in a game where the matchup is a good one for us offensively, because she plays well in space.”
Iowa State will have to adjust.
For starters, the team coming off a school record 19 3-pointer performance in its last game will have to shoot the ball well again.
We’ve seen the Cyclones make threes, but the barrage of long balls hasn’t been consistent yet this year.
“We’re going to have to make shots,” Fennelly said. “It’s one of those games that, in this league, we run into a lot. Their size and length are just so much better than ours.”
It will require a performance from Ashley Joens that we saw early on this season.
Ideally, Iowa State will see the slicing-and-dicing play of Joens emerge again to find different ways of getting the ball to the hoop.
“We all have to come together and play in the post a lot better than we have in the past,” Joens said. “If (Scott) is out we all have to do lot more.”
Not to mention what Fennelly preaches all the time to his team in rebounding and turnovers.
The team has been improving throughout the season, but the question will be on if they can win those battles without the help of Scott.
“Any way you look at it, it’s not a good thing not to have (Scott), so it means everyone else is going to have to do what they do and then some,” Fennelly said.
Iowa State knows the challenge it faces on Wednesday night, and a win in this situation could be speak wonders to the team moving forward.