Women's Basketball

WBB: Cyclones try to stay grounded seeking another win over Texas Tech

Iowa State Cyclones guard Emily Ryan (11), forward Addy Brown (24), center Audi Crooks (55), and guard Kelsey Joens (23) celebrate after winning 74-64 over West Virginia in the Big-12 conference matchup at Hilton Coliseum on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Ames, Iowa. © Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune / USA TODAY NETWORK

When No. 24 Iowa State (12-4, 5-0) travels to Lubbock to face off with Texas Tech (13-5, 2-3) (6 p.m. ESPN+), it will have the chance to do something only one team before it has been able to do.

That’s winning six games in a row to start conference play, which hasn’t been done since the 1999-00 season.

“It’s certainly fun to see them have some success,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “You’ve got to balance like everything – you want to celebrate and be grateful for what you are, but understand what’s ahead. And I think our team understands that, I really do.”

The Cyclones are trying to expand on a recent trend as well, winning 13 of their last 14 games as well as six in a row against Texas Tech.

Fennelly said that’s simply a circumstantial trend between Iowa State’s run of talented rosters and Texas Tech’s last coaching change three years ago.

“I think the matchups have been pretty good for us. And I think we’ve had some really, really good teams. I think the timing of it – they’re coming out of the other end of (a period of figuring out) how (coach Krista Gerlich) wants to play and the kind of kids they want to have. They beat Kansas last week so – it’s the nature of the rosters and we always talk about how matchups make fights. Our style has been able to be okay against them.”

The Cyclones are playing their second standalone game of Big 12 play thus far. Saturday’s game against Baylor was the first.

Iowa State is putting an increased emphasis on these games in its first season playing an unbalanced league schedule.

“Really, playing (Texas Tech) only once this year on the road – those games seem to become a lot bigger in an unbalanced schedule because A. you only play them once and B. the winner gets the tiebreaker. Both games have become a lot more important, probably, than ever before.”

Behind the stout play of the team’s freshman standouts coming together with its senior leadership, the Cyclones have meshed at an opportune time.

Time will tell whether or not this team captured lightning in a bottle for a few games or if it can sustain the success and momentum it rides into Lubbock.

But before then, it’s another chance to make more history in the record books.

“Our players understand and I think they read enough about it and they’ve seen enough where – if you play in this league, you know you’d better show up,” Fennelly said.

In any case inside that locker room, it’s just the next 40 minutes.

Big 12 WBB Standings
No. 7 Kansas State 5-0 (17-1)
No. 24 Iowa State 5-0 (12-4)
Oklahoma 4-1 (10-6)
No. 11 Texas 3-2 (16-2)
No. 12 Baylor 3-2 (14-2)
West Virginia 3-2 (14-2)
OK State 3-2 (10-6)
Texas Tech 2-3 (13-5)
Houston 2-3 (11-5)
Kansas 2-3 (9-7)
TCU 1-4 (14-4)
BYU 1-4 (11-7)
Cincinnati 1-4 (9-7)
UCF 0-5 (9-6)
Mid-week Big 12 Games (Round 6)
Tuesday, Jan. 16
7:00 p.m. (LHN) | Kansas (2-3) @ Texas (3-2)
Wednesday, Jan. 17
6:00 p.m. (ESPN+) | Iowa State (5-0) @ Texas Tech (2-3)
6:00 p.m. (ESPN+) | Houston (2-3) @ West Virginia (3-2)
6:30 p.m. (ESPN+) | Kansas State (5-0) @ TCU (1-4)
6:30 p.m. (ESPN+) | BYU (1-4) @ Oklahoma State (3-2)