116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — When Iowa State point guard Emily Ryan first played at Northern Iowa two seasons ago as a freshman, she knew the Panthers would put forth a gritty effort.
“Obviously I didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Ryan, who will face UNI for the third time Wednesday at 6 p.m. at McLeod Center in Cedar Falls. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot from the first couple times we’ve played them and hopefully we’ll come out with another win.”
Ryan’s first two wins against the Panthers (2-0) haven’t come easily. The seventh-ranked Cyclones (2-0) prevailed, 67-61, two years ago and 70-69 last season at Hilton Coliseum. Each of the past eight meetings with UNI have been decided by single digits, so the tense nature of this in-state matchup isn’t confined to the most recent games.
“They’re always very well prepared,” ISU women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly said. “They’re gonna play hard. They’re not gonna beat themselves and that’s the nature of this game, so it’s a great test for us, first road game of the year, so we’ll see how we do.”
The Tanya Warren-led Panthers opened the season with double-digit wins over St. Thomas (Minn.) and Saint Louis. The Cyclones trounced their first two foes, Cleveland State and Southern. So Wednesday’s matchup will reveal any hidden flaws for each team — especially ISU, which will venture outside of Hilton’s friendly confines for the first time this season.
“It’s something that we’re gonna face coming up into the season, once we get into the Big 12 (schedule) especially, but just being able to play on the road — Coach (Fennelly) always talks about what travels,” said Ryan, who’s drained 8 of her 13 field goal attempts this season and owns an 11-to-3 assist-to-turnover ratio. “That’s our discipline and our fundamentals, and what we do. Even though we won’t have the 10,000 people behind us, we can still do the little things to help us win.”