Iowa State closing in on potential NCAA tournament berth, hosts Oklahoma State on senior night

Cyclones honor 4 seniors Monday, look to avenge December loss to boost tourney hopes

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AMES — Less than one month ago, it looked like the Iowa State women’s basketball team would stay home for a second-straight postseason.

What happened to the Cyclones (17-11, 8-9) in a 20-day span has them right in consideration for an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament.

If Iowa State beats Oklahoma State on Monday in Hilton Coliseum (7 p.m.), the Cyclones could be dancing.

This run of five straight league wins was capped by beating No. 10 Texas in Austin on Friday, characterizing just how far this group has come in a short amount of time.

“We knew we had to dig in deep,” sophomore guard Bridget Carleton told the Cyclone Radio Network. “We knew we had to do it for the seniors, do it for the coaches.

“We know the possibilities and that’s just given us more confidence and motivation to come out every day and play as hard as we can.”

Still, an NCAA tournament bid might not be quite locked up yet. Iowa State clinched the fifth seed in the Big 12 tournament — and will play Kansas State — but a date with the Cowgirls (16-12, 6-11) could go a long way in firming up what March could bring.

Iowa State and Oklahoma State met in the first Big 12 game this season on Dec. 29 — the Cowgirls won 71-59 in Stillwater.

“Monday is a huge game for us,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly told the Cyclone Radio Network. “It is a monster game, and I hope the fans can get out on Monday night.”

Monday also marks senior night for forwards Seanna Johnson, Heather Bowe, Jordan Jensen and Lexi Albrecht.

Johnson is ninth in ISU history in points (1,594), third in rebounds (1,023) and third in double-doubles (31). She is one of only two players in school history to reach 1,500 career points and 1,000 career rebounds, joining former ISU star Angie Welle and has started all 118 games she’s played in.

“Going out there (on senior night) will be very bittersweet for me,” Johnson told the Cyclone Radio Network. “I’m happy that I got the chance to play in Hilton and play in front of those types of fans, but leaving a mark, I’m extremely proud of that.”

l Comments: montzdylan@gmail.com

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