By Ian Smith, CycloneFanatic.com Contributor
Follow Ian on Twitter @IanWsmith3
The Iowa State women’s basketball team plans to lean heavily on its returning talent, but it’s a group of unknowns who could ultimately decide how the season turns out – the freshmen.
The four newcomers will need to grow up in a hurry and provide the Cyclones with much needed depth for the 2011-12 campaign.
Meet the 2011 Iowa State freshmen. They will be role players this season and the Cyclones hope, stars in the future.
“You can tell that their heads are spinning,” sophomore Hallie Christofferson said at the team’s media day on Oct. 4. “There’s a lot of information to take in. (They) need to keep working hard no matter what happens.”
First in line
All four of Iowa State’s new recruits – plus walk-on Melissa Youngblut – came in with countless accolades, but it’s point guard Nikki Moody and wing Brynn Williamson who are most likely to play significant roles first.
“I think the two freshmen that have the most chance to play are Nikki Moody and Brynn Williamson, basically because that’s a position of need for us,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “Kileah (Mays) and Fallon (Ellis) will have a hard time breaking in with the post players in front of them.”
Moody is battling with Chassidy Cole for the starting point guard spot.
“I told Nikki, there isn’t a point guard in the country with a better chance to play than her because the position is wide open,” Fennelly said.
Last year, she averaged 18.1 points per game and 4.8 assists at Euless High School in Texas.
“I play fast,” said Moody, who stands 5-foot-8. “I’m a good team player. I pass the ball a lot and get shots for my teammates.”
Williamson should also be able to make an impact. The 5-foot-11 guard/forward was a four-time all-conference selection at Stanley High School in Kansas City. In her senior season, Williamson averaged 15.6 points and 7.4 rebounds.
“Brynn gives us length, size and scoring ability on the wing so she’ll get a chance as well,” Fennelly said.
Bigs going to school
While Williamson and Moody might see action early in the season, it might take a little bit longer for Kileah Mays and Fallon Ellis. That’s because they are playing behind Anna Prins, Chelsea Poppens, Amanda Zimmerman and Hallie Christofferson.
That’s not to say Ellis and Mays won’t play a crucial role this season. Depth is always important and the duo will need to develop for the future.
Mays is a 6-foot-1 center that averaged 4.9 points and 5.4 rebounds last season at Duncanville High School. Ellis put up 10.1 points and 5.0 rebounds at Westbury High School.
Iowa State will unofficially tip off its season with an exhibition game next Tuesday night at home against Coe College. Tip time is schedule for 7 p.m.