After dismantling Kansas State 96-58 on Wednesday, Iowa State is set to face Kansas for the Cyclones’ first Big 12 road game of the season.
This season, Kansas is 10-1 and has had since Dec. 30 to prepare for Iowa State.
While Kansas will have the advantage of more days to prepare, Iowa State has the momentum of coming off a hot shooting night versus Kansas State.
Against Kansas State, Iowa State connected of 48.5 percent of the 33 3-pointers it shot.
“We needed that,” said redshirt senior guard Alexa Middleton. “We’ve been waiting for that game for awhile and couldn’t have happened at a better time.”
Iowa State has struggled to connect from long range and after the win versus the Wildcats, Iowa State’s average 3-point shooting percentage sits at 33 percent.
Iowa State ranks 12th in the nation in 3-point attempts, but 104th in 3-point percentage.
Against Kansas, coach Bill Fennelly said he expects the Jayhawks to bring pressure, especially on the perimeter.
Sophomore Madi Wise said the best way to negate the pressure from Kansas is to make the open pass — which will occur due to the pressure — and play fundamental basketball.
The biggest offensive threat Iowa State will face versus he Jayhawks is Jessica Washington.
Washington has been averaging 15.9 points per game this season and has played nine games for the Jayhawks since coming back from an injury.
Fennelly said Washington is a pro and noted how last time Iowa State was in Kansas the team “held” her to 36 points.
Iowa State has had parts of games with minimal turnovers and those which are quite the opposite, like against Kansas State.
“We played 30 minutes and turned the ball over twice and scored a lot of points, and we played ten minutes where we looked like we were in a bakery we were turning it over so much,” Fennelly said.
On the road, Fennelly said turnover spurts like against Kansas State will result in losses.
Another issue Iowa State has faced has been slow starts in the first half, said Middleton, who added the team wants to be able to put together four complete quarters of basketball.
In their first road game of their Big 12 slate, the Cyclones have the ability to take advantage to continue their hot streak into Big 12 play.
Last season, Iowa State won its first Big 12 game, but lost the following four before finishing the season 7-11 in conference play.
Despite last season's slow start, Fennelly said Iowa State has had a familiarity developed due to the team's experience at the beginning of the season in the Preseason NIT Tournament (which Iowa State won).
Similarly to the Big 12, Iowa State was forced to play multiple games a week with minimal practices in between during the NIT.
At this stage, Fennelly said Iowa State has handled the schedule well.
If Iowa State is able to establish itself on the road, Wise said it will prove to others Iowa State can win in places besides Hilton Coliseum.
“The first two true road games we played, we were in both games, but we didn’t have the mental or physical toughness to finish them,” Fennelly said.
If Iowa State hopes to continue their hot start in Big 12 play, a complete game on the road is a must.