The Iowa State women’s basketball team will play its final game of the regular season Wednesday against the Kansas Jayhawks, with the Cyclones coming off a big Senior Night win over West Virginia.
The last time the Cyclones faced the Jayhawks on Feb. 17, it ended in an 84-82 win after a 9-0 run, and a second chance bucket from Ashley Joens helped seal the win.
In that game, the Cyclones gave up 32 points in the third quarter, and Head Coach Bill Fennelly feels the defense is something that needs to be improved upon in this season-closing rematch.
“We gave up 82 points and that's not good — I don’t care who you’re playing,” Fennelly said. “Kansas was very good offensively against us. We didn’t do the things we need to do, and we got lucky.”
While the Cyclones did everything they could on offense in terms of converting free throws and finding ways to score, the defensive effort needs to be there in order to try and ease the pressure in the game.
With this being the final game of the regular season, the game holds importance seeing as the Big 12 Championship begins March 11. Although the game holds significance heading into the postseason, Fennelly is adamant that the regular season and postseason are very different, and the Cyclones' focus should be on ending the season with a win.
“The regular season ends tomorrow night, period, whether we win or whether we lose,” Fennelly said. “The next big thing for us is the conference tournament, and that’ll be one, two or three games, and when that’s over, that’s over. Then, hopefully, on selection Monday our name will be called and we’ll go into that. Certainly, you want to end the regular season the right way and you want to move up in the Big 12 standings as much as you can. There’s a lot to play for, and I think our kids understand that.”
Fennelly understands the importance of the Cyclones’ final regular season game but also does not want to get too caught up in the momentum aspect of the games. While momentum can be a factor in sports, he feels it may not be as important as others make it out to be.
“Young people forget really quickly, they move on really quickly,” Fennelly said. “We’ve always segmented our season anyway.”
With that being said, the Cyclones will look to improve upon their last performance against Kansas as they face the Jayhawks on Wednesday at Hilton Coliseum.
The Cyclones will tip off against the Jayhawks at 6:30 p.m. and they will look to add another win to their record before heading to Kansas City for the Big 12 Championship.