AMES — Normally football, soccer or another fall sport kicks off the annual Cy-Hawk rivalry every year.
But, as we’re all well aware, this isn’t a normal year.
This year, women’s basketball will tip-off the Cy-Hawk rivalry on Wednesday in Iowa City.
“Anyone who says this game isn’t important either lives in a cave or is lying,” Iowa State Coach Bill Fennelly said. “Our kids understand and know what it’s about.
“We have enough kids from Iowa, as do they, to really understand what this game means.”
It might mean even more this season.
Iowa State’s seniors have yet to get a win over Iowa.
“It’s a huge one,” ISU senior Maddie Wise said. “Anytime you play a Cy-Hawk game it’s big. We were all talking about it in the locker room and we talked about how we haven’t gotten one and it’d be huge for us. We’re prepared for practice today and we’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”
Wise is an Indiana native who didn’t grow up with the rivalry. But she quickly found out what it means to the state.
“It was football season my freshman year,” Wise said. “We were told not to wear black that week and the football game was super fun. It’s a big rivalry. I didn’t know how big it was — I heard about it on my visit but when football played them and then when we got ready for our game, that’s when I realized how big it was. It’s a fun rivalry — a little intense — but a lot of fun.”
Iowa State star Ashley Joens grew up in Iowa City.
She’s well aware what the rivalry means. And she has added motivation because the last time she played a game in Carver-Hawkeye, she went just 1 of 10 from the field and missed the game-tying 3-pointer in the final seconds of the game.
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“I definitely remember that game,” Joens said. “I use it as motivation for sure and I’m excited to get back to Iowa City and play such a big game like this.”
The Cyclones’ four freshmen all have some understanding of what the Cy-Hawk game means but they don’t yet know the full scope of it.
“This is their first in-state game and it’s on the road so you don’t know how they’re going to react,” Fennelly said. “You always default to your seniors because they’ve been in this game before so you hope that they understand that. There are a lot of things that are different about this game but it’s still just another chance to play.
“I’ve been on this message since the beginning of the season: Yeah we want to win, but every game that we get to play — if you see all the games being canceled — every game we get to play is in some way a win.”