In its last five games, Iowa State (7-2) has been without junior forward Madi Wise due to migraines. Wise had been playing 27 minutes as a starter this season.
Coach Bill Fennelly said Wise could return to the lineup around Jan. 1.
Her injury has forced other players to play more minutes and in the last four games, the Cyclones haven’t gotten a lot of points from players off the bench.
Iowa State has averaged seven points off the bench. In the first five games of the season, Iowa State averaged 30 points off the bench per game (it should be noted that normal starter — junior center Kristin Scott — started the season on the bench, as she was dealing with back spasms).
“We’ve got to find something off the bench...we’ve got to shoot the ball better, there are 200 minutes in a game and we’re about 25 minutes short in terms of production right now,” Fennelly said. “It killed us in the Iowa game and it has hurt us in some other games as well.”
Against Iowa, Iowa State only had two points from a player that came off the bench.
Since Wise has been out, sophomore forward Ashley Joens has played more minutes, which led her to play the entire game against Wright State.
This week, Joens was named the Big 12 player of the week and espnW’s player of the week.
Iowa State guard/forward Ashley Joens reads the court against the Texas Southern women's basketball team at their match Nov. 7 at Hilton Colis…
“She (Wise) gives us another scoring threat, so we needed to step up and fill that scoring role,” Joens said.
Bench scoring could make the difference against the Northern Iowa Panthers (7-3) on Sunday, as the Panthers have nine players who have played in all ten of their games and eight players who average at least five points per game.
Northern Iowa’s offense has been very balanced this season as its leading scorers, junior guard Karli Rucker and sophomore guard Kim Finley — who comes off the bench — both average only 11.6 points per game.
The Panthers are a deep team, ten players average at least 14 minutes per game.
For Iowa State to beat Northern Iowa, they’ll look to to hold the Panthers to less than 70 points. Iowa State is 6-0 when it holds its opponent to less than 70 points, but it is 1-2 when it allows its opponent scores more than 70 points.
Northern Iowa has allowed its opponents to score more than 70 points in only two games this season, in a 78-73 over the Missouri Tigers on the road and in an 87-77 loss against the Alabama Crimson tide on a neutral court.
“They’re playing at a really high level, they’re a really good team and they’re really well-coached,” Fennelly said. “They’re going to guard hard, play a lot of kids, they’re going to be more than ready to come here and play and we’re going to have to play a lot better than we have been playing.”
Iowa State and Northern Iowa have three common opponents, the North Dakota State Bison, the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Northern Iowa is 2-1 in those games, winning by 28 points against the North Dakota State and by 22 against Iowa, while losing to Alabama by 10 points. Iowa State is also 2-1 in those games, but it beat North Dakota State by 28 points and Alabama by nine and losing to Iowa by six.
Tip-off for Sunday’s game is at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday at Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State is 36-9 all-time against Northern Iowa and has a 19-1 record in Ames, Iowa, versus Northern Iowa, the lone loss came in 1975 with a score of 72-51.