Iowa State women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly has seen the game change over the course of his coaching career.
As Fennelly said before, everybody wants to be like the Golden State Warriors. Every player wants to shoot threes instead of taking it to the bucket or play position-less basketball. And no position has been affected the most than the center spot.
“The center position has almost gone the way of the dinosaur,” Fennelly said. “There are not many back to the basket players anymore.”
Four times this season, the crowd at Hilton Coliseum has heard the P.A. announcer say, “Kristin Scott for three.” Now, it is not uncommon for Iowa State fans hear that a Cyclone just scored from behind the arc because the cardinal and gold have made at least one 3-pointer in 715 straight games, which is the current longest streak and a NCAA record.
However, it should come as a surprise to some to hear Scott’s name and “for three” in the same sentence as she plays the power forward or center position for Iowa State.
Now, there are some teams that still have some great low-post players. As the Big 12 season approaches for the Cyclones, Iowa State will have to prepare for Baylor and Texas’ post players, as both teams possess exceptional low-post presences. But, everything is about match-ups and spacing in today’s basketball world.
Especially during Fennelly’s time in Ames, the Cyclones have never really had the overpowering post player to utilize against those dominate low-post scorers that the Big 12 is known for, expect for Angie Welle, that is. So, Fennelly and his coaching staff have had to recruit a four or five position that has the skill set to score away from the basket.
“I think [Kristin Scott] is a great example of that,” Fennelly said. “She is probably more comfortable facing the basket than she is with her back to the basket.”
Coming out of high school, Scott was a scoring machine. She holds the record for the most points by any Kasson-Mantorville High School, located in Minnesota, student-athlete, male or female, with 2,253 career points. During her senior campaign, she averaged 24.3 points per game.
Through 11 games this season, Scott’s scoring has been inconsistent. One game she is one of Iowa State’s leading scorers, then the next she doesn’t even tally one point. However, Scott has shown some of those flashes that could make her a match-up nightmare in the future.
On the season, Scott is averaging seven points per game while shooting 37.7 percent from the field. The biggest glare in her game so far with the cardinal and gold is her 3-point shooting.
During warm-ups, Scott knocks down three after three. Once game time comes, however, Scott’s threes don’t fall in. The freshman has only made 4-out-of-22 three point attempts this year, which only gives her a mere .182 shooting percentage behind the arc.
Despite the poor shooting performance from 3-point land, that hasn’t hurt Scott’s confidence her shooting ability.
“If you don’t shoot, you’re never gonna make one anyway,” Scott said.
While the inside-outside threat with a smooth jumper is confident in her shot making abilities, Scott still has some old-school post player blood in her.
Most of her scoring has come from the block or from a mid-range jumper. However, the main reason why Scott has averaged 22.5 minutes per game this season is due to her rebounding ability.
“She’s very active,” Fennelly said. “She has good anticipation.
“She’s the best rebounder on the team.”
Scott currently leads Iowa State with 83 rebounds on the season, giving her an average of 7.5 boards per game. At one point this year, the young post player was one of five freshmen in the country to average nine rebounds through the first six games of the season.
.@Kristin__Scott has been a rebounding machine in ISU's first five games. She is 1⃣ of 5⃣ freshmen in the nation averaging over 9.0 RPG.— Cyclone Basketball (@CycloneWBB) November 29, 2017
She also ranks 3rd in all of #Big12WBB in rebounds per contest. #Cyclones #FreshmanImpact pic.twitter.com/5IbmQjH7yj
Fennelly has countlessly stated that he has never seen a women’s basketball player get a rebound above the rim. They must have the will power and drive to go after a board. And Scott has made it a priority to go after every single shot that hits the rim.
“That is one thing that I go into a game thinking, ‘that is one thing I can help this team win is by getting rebounds,'” Scott said.
Fennelly hates to compare players to past performers, but he willingly said that Scott reminds him of Hallie Christofferson, who is a former First-Team All-Big 12 performer and sixth all-time on the Iowa State scoring list, because both are long, athletic and came from a small school.
“I think she has a chance to be very, very good,” Fennelly said.
Now, it is still up in the air if Scott will be on the same level as Christofferson or Welle were during their times in Ames. But one thing is for certain, Scott is a new age type of center that Iowa State fans and women’s basketball as a whole will need to keep getting used to.