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By Ian Smith, CycloneFanatic.com Contributor
Follow Ian on Twitter @IanWsmith3
Bill Fennelly is searching for the next star Iowa State women’s basketball player.
He doesn’t need to look far.
Meet Hallie Christofferson – a sophomore who is poised to elevate her game and help replace Kelsey Bolte and the 16.9 points per game she left behind.
“She’s long, she’s athletic, she is ultra-competitive,” Fennelly said. “I think she is someone that really has a chance to be one of the best players we’ve had here. To put her name on the list of really good players.”
That’s quite a compliment, especially coming from Fennelly. The 17-year head coach has watched Bolte, Allison Lacey, Angie Welle, Lyndsey Medders, Stacy Frese and many other great players suit up in the Cardinal and Gold.
After making the Big 12 All-Conference Freshmen Team last season, Christofferson’s true potential is just starting to surface. Last season, she showed flashes of being able to score inside, from the arc and by slashing toward the hoop.
“I think Hallie is someone that has the ability to be an all-conference player,” Fennelly said. “She comes into our program and last year no one has ever heard of her and she made the all-freshmen team. That’s very hard to do when you don’t have the hype going in.”
During that freshman campaign, Christofferson averaged 9.3 points per game and 5.1 rebounds. The Hamlin native scored in double figures 13 times, made 52.1 percent of her shots and hit 82.6 percent of her free throws.
So what’s she have in store for encore?
“She’s gotten better,” Fennelly said. “She’s stronger. We’ll ask her to do a lot of things. As of right now, she’s the most complete player on our team for a lot of reasons.”
In the offseason, Christofferson worked to add a hook shot to her repertoire. She’s also hoping to improve her 3-point shooting and scoring on the move. Having a year of experience under her belt should only help.
“The biggest thing my freshman year would probably be just getting all those freshman jitters out,” Christofferson said. “Just running into Hilton and knowing the plays, and where everything goes, and the pace of everything.”
Christofferson also became accustomed to the big Hilton Coliseum crowd after playing at tiny Exira High School.
“Seeing all those people, all those fans, that are cheering for you and knowing they have your back – it’s a great feeling,” Christofferson said. “It gives you goose bumps every time.”
Iowa State doesn’t return a single player who scored in double figures last season so Christofferson will be counted on heavily to provide scoring. The same could be said for the entire frontcourt with Anna Prins, Chelsea Poppens and Amanda Zimmerman joining Christofferson.
Prins is positive Christofferson is up to the task.
“She’s really stepped up,” Prins said. “She’s looking good so far. She’s one of those post players that can score inside and outside and have that versatility. So that’s always nice to have that versatility in there.”
More than 10,000 fans pack Hilton Coliseum most games to watch Iowa State play, but Christofferson’s biggest fan could be sitting on the Cyclones’ bench if she reaches her potential this season – Coach Bill Fennelly.