AMES — Iowa State will use Sunday’s noon game at Hilton Coliseum against Drake (8-2) as a tune-up for Big 12 women’s basketball play.
Coach Bill Fennelly has been impressed with what the Bulldogs (8-2) have been able to do.
“It’ll have a conference-game feel to it as far as how you prepare to play at a high level against a quality opponent,” Fennelly said. “It’ll be an interesting test to see where we are as we head into the break.”
He also said that Drake likes to play a lot of zone defense, so Iowa State’s (7-2) shooting will be tested, but the biggest thing Fennelly wants to see is how his post players play.
Fennelly has started Meredith Burkhall every game, but he likes to get his other two post players in during the first quarter to see who has the hot hand.
“I told them that they are all going to get a chance and we’re going to try and get them all in, in the first quarter,” Fennelly said. “We rotate that we in practice. I’ve always said to people, coaches do not decide who gets to play, players do. If you play well, if you do what you’re supposed to do in practice and in games, you get to play. That’s the way we’ve done it.
“We have three capable post players, but none of the three have shown up every game. We have to figure out which one has the hot hand that day — hopefully there is always one of them. Their numbers as a group are good. But that’s the challenge. We want to give them an opportunity. Life’s about competition and they’re competing for those minutes.”
Burkhall averages five points on 60 percent shooting and 3.4 rebounds per game.
But sophomore Kristin Scott has put up the biggest numbers. She’s the teams’ second-leading scorer at 10.6 points per game on 57 percent shooting from the field and 44 percent shooting from 3-point range. She also pulls down seven rebounds per game.
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“She’s really been doing some great things,” Fennelly said of Scott. “She’s nine games into her sophomore year. She’s scoring, rebounding. Obviously, there’s another level for her to get to. She knows that. She has the skillset and the capability where the team can really rely on her as we move forward.
“She’s a unique post player because she can score on the block, she can shoot 3s, she’s been a good offensive rebounder for us — defensively she has to improve, and she knows that. I’m really, really happy with the progress she’s shown so far.”
Fennelly doesn’t plan on making a change to the starting lineup.
“Meredith has earned the right as a senior and the way she’s carried herself,” Fennelly said. “I’m not saying it won’t ever happen. I think for Kristin it’s good to watch what’s been going on in the game, and for us too, to see where we can use her skillset.
The last Iowa State post is Ines Nezerwa, who’s averaging 6.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. She’s shown flashes, but she’s not as consistent as Fennelly would like.
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