The Iowa State women’s basketball team is back in action tonight, playing host to inner state foe Drake University (7:00 PM Central time tip and broadcast on Cyclones.TV). The Cyclone’s enter the game 1-0 on the young season after defeating USC Upstate on Sunday 98-76. The Bulldogs are limping into Ames coming off a 5 point loss in their season debut at home against South Dakota.
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The Cyclones have won 78 straight regular season non-conference games inside Hilton Coliseum and have won 9 of the last 10 meetings against the Bulldogs, with the lone loss coming in 2009.
As noted earlier, the Cyclone’s entered the 2014-15 season with a major hole in the middle replacing honorable mention All-American Hallie Christofferson, which accounted for 84 percent of the points scored in the post a year ago. Freshmen center Bryanna Fernstrom didn’t disappoint in her first game as a Cyclone scoring 25 points in just 24 minutes against USC Upstate. That includes scoring 12 of the team’s first 14 points in just over three minutes of play. It was good enough to earn her the Big 12 Freshmen of the Week award earlier this week.
In their loss to South Dakota, Drake sophomore forward Lizzy Wendell scored 25 points, while 2014 first team All-MVC senior guard Kyndal Clark had 17 points.
The Bulldogs return four starters from a season ago, losing only Ashley Bartow and Alyssa Marschner as key contributors from a season ago. Head coach Jennie Baranczyk’s Drake team returns over 80 percent of its scoring production from a year ago, and more than 70 percent of the team’s rebounds from last season return on the 2014-15 roster. Baranczyk enters her third season as the Bulldogs head coach accumulating a 28-35 overall record (14-22 in MVC).
Keep an eye out for the battle of the freshmen posts. Both Drake and the Cyclone’s will start freshmen centers in 6-foot 5 Bryanna Fernstrom (Iowa State), and 6-foot-2 Becca Jonas (Drake). Also, South Dakota was able to chuck up 28 3-point attempts against the Bulldogs. The Cyclones have three players who hit 40 or more 3-pointers a season ago (Brynn Williamson, Kidd Blaskowsky, and Nikki Moody).
If the Cyclones can continue to connect from the outside, and Fernstrom can hold her own in the paint once again, I predict the Cyclones win its fifth straight against the Bulldogs.