Bill Fennelly put the final score of Iowa State’s win over Baylor on the scoreboard at the Sukup Practice Facility during Sunday’s practice.
75-71 was illuminated in that square, universal font for 10 minutes.
The team watched the last portion of the victory and practiced free throws for the first segment of practice.
“As soon as the 10 minutes was done, the scoreboard went to zero and we were on to Oklahoma,” Fennelly said.
That’s a big mantra in Fennelly’s program.
The next 40 minutes being more important than the last – no matter the result that his team is coming off.
“You’ve got to come back from disappointment in a loss with some maturity and you’ve got to do the same thing after you win,” Fennelly said. “If we don’t play well (Tuesday) night, the narrative will be a lot different. So, you’ve got to show up and that starts with how you prepare.”
Ironically enough, the last 80 minutes for Iowa State probably couldn’t have been better.
The team beat Oklahoma State and Baylor, previously the league’s only undefeated teams, to rise to the top of the conference standings.
They re-entered the rankings at No. 24 for the first time since December after starting the year at No. 15.
Ashley Joens and Emily Ryan even swept the Big 12 Player of the Week awards.
But the Cyclones must move on.
“It’s critical,” Fennelly said. “That’s the nature of this league. We put the score up, and then we move on. I tell them, ‘It doesn’t matter what you do in life… if you do well on a test, you want to do well on the next test.’ That’s just the nature of what we’re about.”
Iowa State will welcome in Oklahoma (4-5, 1-3 Big 12) to Hilton Coliseum on Tuesday night (6:30 p.m. ESPN+) in the first of two home games this week.
Although the Sooners don’t display an impressive mark on their record, this team could pop off at any time.
There have been games where Oklahoma has put up 100 points in a win as well as others where they score 50 and manage a ‘W.’
“Oklahoma is a very strong offensive team,” Lexi Donarski said. “They have a lot of different people that can shoot the ball and attack and stuff like that. We just need to know our scouting report and follow that.”
It helps to have Joens, the center piece for this Iowa State team, playing her best basketball of her career, right now.
The Iowa State junior scored 14 of the final 17 points for her team in the Baylor win, including the bucket that iced the game for the Cyclones.
“Any time you can play well, especially against a great team like Baylor (it gives me a confidence boost),” Joens said. “Just to know that you can do that against the highest level helps you get better and you know you have to keep doing that every single night.”
The Cyclones will, again, tip off against the Sooners at 6:30 p.m. in Ames going for their fourth-straight win and seventh in the past eight games, on Tuesday night.
Fennelly isn’t worried at all.
“I know they’ll respond great,” Fennelly said. “I won’t predict how they will play or not play, but I know they’re going to play the game how we coach them to play it. I’m not worried about that with our team. This group is good.”
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