10 Takeaways: Women's Media Day

Iowa State held its media day for women's basketball Thursday, and there is a lot to be learned about this season's team. Here are 10 things to get you started

  • In losing Hallie Christofferson, Iowa State will need to replace 18.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Christofferson, a First-Team All-Big 12 selection last season, was often the Cyclones’ go-to player when they needed a bucket and was always the offense’s facilitator. Who takes that role this year?

    “I’m hoping I can take that role,” said point guard Nikki Moody, who averaged 12.5 points per game last season. Fellow senior Brynn Williamson thinks the scoring could be made up by a group. “I think we have five different options and maybe even more when we sub,” Williamson said.
  • One thing Moody must improve upon in her senior season, coach Bill Fennelly says, is her field goal percentage. Moody shot 37 percent from the field last season, and Fennelly said that number must increase if the Cyclones are to have success this season.

    “I think some of that is shot selection [and] some of it is being put in bad spots at the end of the shot clock,” Fennelly said. “It’s like the quarterback that throws the interception. Everyone yells at the quarterback, well, the guy might have run the wrong route [or] the guy might have missed a block. For her to have the kind of year that we need her to have, her field goal percentage needs to be higher.”

  • There will be help for Moody at point guard this season as Iowa State adds freshman guard Nakiah Bell to the mix. Bell, along with sophomore Jadda Buckley, will give the Cyclones three capable point guards, which could mean that Moody plays some off the ball in her final season.

    “I think a lot of that depends on how Nakiah does,” Fennelly said of Moody playing off the ball. “We’re going to try Jadda at the point as well. Sometimes it’s about matchups [and] sometimes it’s about who gets the ball first.”

  • Speaking of Buckley, the sophomore knows she must be more consistent a year removed from her first action. Fennelly pointed out that Buckley would sometimes follow up a 29-point performance with a 2-point one. Buckley was Iowa State’s third-leading scorer last season behind Christofferson and Moody.

    “Jadda needs to be one of our leading scorers,” Fennelly said. “She put up great numbers last year. We have to get her more shots. I think for Jadda it’s consistency.”

  • Fellow sophomore Seanna Johnson is finally getting healthy after being injured during the team’s summer trip to Italy. Johnson returned to practice Wednesday and Fennelly said one key for the 5-foot-10 guard is developing a more consistent 3-point shot to go with her slashing ability.
  • Iowa State has five freshmen this season and four of them are expected to contribute. In addition to Bell, guard Emily Durr should get some playing time as will forwards Claire Ricketts and Bryanna Fernstrom. Freshman guard Blaire Thomas is athletically ready, Fennelly said, but she’s still learning and the team is searching for the position that best suits her.
  • One reason the freshman forwards will see plenty of action is due to Iowa State’s lack of forwards. If the season were to start today, Fennelly said, he isn’t sure who his center would be. Iowa State will use Ricketts an Fernstom along with Fallon Ellis, Jordan Jensen and Madison Baier at the forward spots.

    “What we need is everyday, whatever day it is, one of those guys shows up and contributes,” Fennelly said. “You can’t make excuses for it, it is what it is. We’re young and inexperienced, but they’re all on scholarship.”
  • While Iowa State played with six players in most games last season, the depth will be much larger in 2014-15. Fennelly said the team will practice with 10 or 11 players potentially seeing the court.

    “We’ll have more depth than we’ve had in a long time,” Fennelly said. “As far as the number of players that we’ll rotate, it’s hard to say right now.”

  • If there is one key thing Iowa State must improve upon, Fennelly said, it’s making more 3-pointers. With Christofferson gone and a lack of experience inside, the long-ball will become even more important this season. Last season the Cyclones shot 33 percent beyond the arc, making 276-of-836 3s.

    “We’ve got a lot of shooters on this team. We need more makers,” Fennelly said. “Our 3-point percentage has got to go up. We made a lot of them, but we shot a lot of them. That falls on everyone.”
  • Finally, there is a possibility this Iowa State team will have some new wrinkles. The inexperience at forward could lead to five-guard lineups, Fennelly said, and the team may also be forced to play more zone defense than in the past.

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