Before its regular season begins on Nov. 7 against the Southern Jaguars, Iowa State hosts the Missouri Western State Griffons on Wednesday in an exhibition game.
Tip-off on Wednesday is at 6:30 p.m. at Hilton Coliseum.
Missouri Western State is an NCAA Division II school out of St. Joseph, Missouri.
The Griffons have been a solid program in the 2010s, earning a 90-58 record in the past five seasons.
However, the last two seasons have seen a step back for the Griffons as they had a record of 13-18 two seasons ago and a 14-16 record last season.
Missouri Western State returns its leading scorer from last season in senior guard Katrina Roenfeldt, but the Griffons lost six out of their top seven scorers from last season.
In the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association media poll, the Griffons were picked to finish eight but were picked to finish 11th in the coaches' poll.
The Griffons were defeated 70-48 by the Missouri Tigers in their exhibition game last season.
Iowa State comes into the season facing two big questions.
Can it replace the on-the-court production Carleton and Middleton had and who will earn the starting point guard job?
Wednesday will be Iowa State’s first game without All-American Guard Bridget Carleton — who is currently playing in the WNBA for the Minnesota Lynx and the JCU Townsville Fire in the Women's National Basketball League in Australia — and guard Alexa Middleton.
However, the Cyclones return three out their top five point scorers from last season — guard/forward Ashley Joens, center Kristin Scott and guard/forward Madison Wise.
From left to right — Ashley Joens, Kristin Scott and Madi Wise pose for photos at women's basketball media day.
“When you look at the team and where the shots and points are going to come from…. I think Madi, Ashley and Kristin are all players that can do that," said Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly. “If they help and do what they are capable of doing, then that helps your point guard play.”
Senior guard Adriana Camber is expected to earn a starting spot, but one starting spot is still left up for grabs at point guard.
At media day on Oct. 7, Fennelly stated either junior Rae Johnson or incoming freshman Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw could start.
Fast forward three weeks and the point guard position still seems unsettled.
“Everyone wants to know who the starting point guard is but we’re going to have an opener, not a starter,” Fennelly said. “We’re going to keep trying a bunch of different people and see what happens.”
For Espenmiller-McGraw, an Indianola, Iowa, native, this will be the first game of her career at Iowa State.
Espenmiller-McGraw was a five-star recruit in high school and was an ESPN McDonald’s All-American Nominee. Wednesday will be her first chance to make an impact for Iowa State.
“The transition (from high school to college) has been pretty hard but the seniors and juniors have helped me a lot with that and any with any little thing I need help with,” Espenmiller-McGraw said.
Last season, Iowa State defeated Southwest Baptist 90-51 in its exhibition game.
Iowa State will be without Kristin Scott due to a back injury on Wednesday. Scott also had this injury over the summer.
“She’s nowhere near being ready to play now but it’s one of those things that’s funky, she could wake up tomorrow and feel a lot better,” Fennelly said. “When it happened this summer at the Pan-Am trials, it was a three-four week deal.”