116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Jadda Buckley helped transform Mason City into a girls' basketball power. Makenzie Meyer finally got the Mohawks over the top.
'Those were good times,' Meyer said. 'The thing about (Buckley) ... she showed me what it takes to be a great high school player and a great team leader.
'She and the other seniors adopted and accepted me as a freshman.'
Buckley saw Meyer's potential immediately.
'We knew she was a great basketball player right when she stepped on (the court),' Buckley said. 'She was an awesome player from the start. She didn't really need much help. She just had to play and learn the game.'
Meyer and Buckley will be on opposite sides of the Cy-Hawk Rivalry. The reigning Big 12 player of the week, Buckley leads Iowa State (6-1) to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for Wednesday's encounter with Iowa (6-3).
Tipoff is 7 p.m.
'You don't need to say a lot,' Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. 'Everybody gets excited about this game. It's a great rivalry.'
It's a rivalry owned in recent times by the home team, which has won 14 of the last 15 meetings in this series, including nine in a row. ISU rallied to win last year in Ames, 69-66.
Bluder isn't using home court as a crutch; the Hawkeyes have been beaten twice this season at Carver.
'We feel comfortable here, but it doesn't guarantee us anything,' she said. 'Anything can happen. We're not invincible on our home court.'
The paths of Buckley and Meyer merged for one season (2012-13) at Mason City, when Buckley was a senior and Meyer was a freshman.
'It was a blast playing with her, and I know we only got a year together. But just in that short year, seeing the potential she had and watching it grow to now her being at Iowa, is awesome,' Buckley said. 'It'll be nice to just be on the same court as her even if we are in different uniforms.'
Buckley and the Mohawks reached the state tournament twice before Meyer came along. The 2013 team got back to Wells Fargo Arena, falling to West Des Moines Dowling in the Class 5A semifinals.
That team also included Cortni Rush and Myah Mellman, who now play at Drake and Creighton, respectively. And it beat Ally Disterhoft's Iowa City West squad in the first round. Disterhoft is a senior at Iowa.
Meyer finally led the Mohawks to a state championship, in Class 4A, last year, and also captured Miss Iowa Basketball 2016. As a Hawkeye freshman, the 5-foot-9 guard is averaging 3.8 points in 17.3 minutes per game.
She said she's not in touch with Buckley as much as Rush or Mellman, but said, 'Jadda's having an amazing season. She has one of the (nation's) best assist averages. She's a great team leader. She'll be a handful.'
In addition to her 15.6-point average, Buckley ranks eighth nationally in assists (7.4 per game), 12th in free-throw percentage (.935) and 17th in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.47-to-1).
'Oh, boy,' Bluder said. 'She's a composed point guard. She's smart. She knows the game well and reads defenses well.'
Iowa is coming off its best performance of the season, an 88-39 romp over Northern Iowa.
'What Iowa did to UNI got a lot of people's attention,' ISU Coach Bill Fennelly said Tuesday. 'It certainly got mine.'
With 1,704 career points, Disterhoft is on pace to becoming Iowa's career scoring leader. She said she 'was pretty close' to choosing Iowa State.
'They offered before Iowa did,' Disterhoft said. 'But deep down, I was always an Iowa fan. It was just a matter of being patient and waiting for their scholarship.'
Fennelly said Disterhoft 'came (into college) as a good player, and she's turned into a great player.'
Iowa State is the nation's top free-throw shooting team (83.5 percent) while Iowa ranks ninth in field-goal accuracy (48.8 percent). Iowa's Megan Gustafson is sixth individually at 67.0 percent.
Dylan Montz contributed to this report.