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AMES — The changes Bill Fennelly saw were evident.
When Bridget Carleton returned to Iowa State this fall for her sophomore year with the women’s basketball team, she looked a bit different. She walked a little taller and had an air of confidence about her, something that wasn’t always apparent before.
That’s what a summer spent training with the Canadian Women’s National Team does for a 19-year-old.
“She’s got a chance to be scary good. The good thing is she wants to be scary good,” Fennelly said. “She’ll put in the time and effort. Probably the only thing to hold her back is herself.”
Carleton, a 6-foot-1 guard, spent a chunk of her summer training with Team Canada in the hopes of making the Olympic team. She was just one of three NCAA players to attend the camp and although her individual quest to making the Olympic roster fell short, the confidence and experience she gained was invaluable.
“(It was good) being able to kind of compare myself against those players, because that’s obviously the level I want to be at for the next four years,” Carleton said. “So obviously I benefited from it. As a person and a player I think I matured a lot over the summer.”
The next step for Carleton is having that growth translate into her upcoming season with the Cyclones.
The Chatham, Ontario, native started 25 games as a freshman, averaged 12 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game and was named an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection. Carleton isn’t ignorant to the impact she made in her first collegiate season, but she wants more.
She scored in double figures 18 times and scored 20 points or more four times, but shot just 33 percent from the field and 32 percent from 3-point range.
“My first goal when I came (back from the summer) was to come into the gym every day and get shots up on the gun, so I get about 300 shots up every day,” Carleton said. “Sometimes more than that and sometimes less.
“Last year it felt like I was streaky at times so I definitely want to be a consistent shooter.”
Iowa State has experienced scorers returning with forward Seanna Johnson and guard Jadda Buckley, but Carleton’s size combined with an improved jump shot adds a new wrinkle to the offense.
“If she just goes out and plays and does the things she can do, she’s going to be a great player,” Fennelly said. “I don’t know that we’ve ever had a player that’s in the gym as much as Bridget. The kid wants to be good.”
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