Iowa State women's basketball is heading into its last three games of the season on a roll. The Cyclones won their last two games against TCU and Kansas and are in good position to extend their win streak against Oklahoma State on Saturday.
The Cyclones are coming off a close win against Kansas as Lexi Donarski, Ashley Joens and Kristin Scott all had big scoring nights in Allen Fieldhouse.
Over the course of the season, the Cyclones have been finding a steady groove on the offensive end and now have multiple players who are trusted to shoot the ball, including a freshman like Donarski.
Iowa State Head Coach Bill Fennelly mentioned Friday the growth of his players in comparison to the beginning of the season, a time long ago where Joens was scoring a majority of the points.
“It’s good, obviously Ashley [Joens] is a tremendous player and one of the best players in the country but basketball is a five-on-five game,” Fennelly said. “She’s had monster games and we’ve lost, so the goal is, obviously you want her to get going and she’s done a great job but, you want to get other people involved and luckily Lexi [Donarski] has done a great job.”
With more players being able to score since the last time the Cyclones and Cowgirls met on Jan. 13 and lineups being a little different, Fennelly thinks Saturday may be different compared to their first meeting.
“I don’t think it’ll be a 90-80 game, I think both teams were really good on offense and lacked what we both feel we should be on defense,” Fennelly said. “I think Oklahoma State is playing, besides Baylor, as well as anyone is in our league. Oklahoma State have won seven out of eight so we know we’re going to get a great game [Saturday].”
A big part of Oklahoma State's hot streak as Fennelly mentioned has been senior Natasha Mack. In Iowa State's last meeting with the Cowgirls, Mack put up 34 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as the Cyclones had no answer for her in the paint.
Fennelly knows this time around the team will have to try to come up with a way to contain her on both ends of the floor in order to come out with a win.
“We’re going to try to do some things differently but she’s a kid who can really score it,” Fennelly said. “She’s one of the rare players in women’s basketball that you have to game plan for so we got our hands full, if she has another 34-point game then it’s going to be a long afternoon for us.”
The Cyclones will tip off against the Cowgirls at 1 p.m. Saturday. The game will be available to stream on ESPN+ via Big 12 Now as the Cyclones hope to extend their win streak to three as the regular season nears its end.