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AMES — The Iowa State women's basketball team has two games left — both at home.
The first is against No. 18 West Virginia on Wednesday and the second is against Kansas on March 3.
In this COVID time, nothing is normal and the Cyclones are sticking to that. Iowa State will honor its three seniors — Kristin Scott, Maddie Wise and Rae Johnson — against West Virginia.
The West Virginia game originally was supposed to be the final home game of the season, but Kansas had to postpone its scheduled matchup earlier in the season because of COVID. When the Kansas game got rescheduled, it was bumped down to the home finale.
'They need their moment and we're treating them like seniors because you don't know what's going to happen,' Coach Bill Fennelly said. 'We're going to go with it, but it is a little different. I feel bad because the fans aren't here and their families can't be on the court with them but we're going to do the best we can to make it a special night for them. They've earned that.'
None of the Cyclone seniors are necessarily stars — Ashley Joens and Lexi Donarski tend to dominate the talk surrounding the team — but they make a positive impact when they get their opportunities.
Scott is Iowa State's post presence. The 6-foot-3 forward is often tasked with guarding players much bigger than her but she holds her own on defense. Offensively, she's able to stretch the opposing team's big out to the 3-point line, where she connects at a 41-percent clip.
Wise came to Iowa State as a heralded recruit out of Indiana and lived up to her high billing as a freshman and sophomore, averaging more than eight points and four rebounds each of her first two seasons as a starter while being the team's designated lockdown defender.
As a junior, she suffered a concussion that sidelined her for most of the season. As a senior, she's coming off the bench and providing leadership and a sense of calm among Iowa State's freshman-heavy lineups.
Johnson had her best season as a Cyclone last year when she averaged 8.9 points per game. But after the influx of freshmen talent Iowa State brought in, Johnson has seen her playing time diminish. She still plays an important role as the backup point guard and she shoots the 3 at a 39-percent clip.
All three have had to fight through injuries — Johnson and Scott both missed time last season with back injuries — and all three have had to fight through uneven playing time, at times.
'They've been great,' Fennelly said. 'They've all had to fight through a lot of stuff. Anymore, when you look at the landscape of college sports and the landscape of life, it's easy for people to quit or transfer or get out. All three of them came as freshmen and all three will graduate from Iowa State. Right off the bat, I think that's an accomplishment given where college sports is today and then you throw this year in, especially.
'Our freshmen get talked about a lot, and they deserve that, but that means our seniors that aren't playing as much, aren't. And these seniors have had to lead in a year where there's no handbook for leading. And they've done it great.
'We have a board in Hilton that lists every senior we've had. Our seniors have earned the right to say that they belong on that board and they've earned the right to say that they were special Iowa State seniors.'