The Odd Couple

Juniors Lyndsey Medders and Megan Ronhovde share the love of basketball and the similarities pretty much stop there.

One of them grew up in the shadows the L.A. Lakers ‘Showtime,' while the other spent her childhood on the family farm in Minnesota and that is what makes the friendship of Lyndsey Medders and Megan Ronhovde so special.


"It's one of the fun, unique things about college," said ISU head coach Bill Fennelly. "You have a kid from the sticks of Minnesota, farmer, small-town to L.A. and they're roommates.


"Lyndsey goes to the farm and couldn't believe the combine had a radio in it and I couldn't imagine what Megan thought when she went to Venice Beach. The cultural experience is so different and they're two very different people."


The two juniors agree that they do make quiet the combination.


"We had almost completely opposite upbringings," Medders said. "But it's been a wonderful relationship, both on and off the court, as it's allowed us both to step outside our comfort zone of completely different lifestyles."


Added Ronhovde, "Lynds definitely has that ‘Hollywood edge,' while I'm more laid back. The fact that our personalities are so different is what makes our friendship so special."


Medders, a Los Angeles native, and Ronhovde, hailing from Barrett, Minn., will be counted on to lead this years ISU women's basketball squad as they try to accomplish a repeat trip to the NCAA Tournament.


Two different upbringings, two different approaches to the game.


"The fact that I grew up on farm definitely taught me the value of hard work, which is how I approach basketball," Ronhovde said. "My mentality on the court is to work hard every time I'm out there."


Fennelly said Ronhovde is very serious and task-oriented.


"The first time I talked to her on the phone I thought I was talking to a 35 year old adult," he said. "She's very matter of fact, just an amazing person and an amazing family."


Whereas Medders is more ‘flashy' and out-going.


"Lyndsey, she's very L.A., she's got the weird funky sunglasses, the music she listens to is a year ahead of us in Iowa and the clothes are different," Fennelly said.


With the more time she's spent in the Midwest Medders' game has started to take a more ‘laidback' approach.


"My game has ‘calmed down' a bit since I got here," Medders said. "I've tried to make the easy play and not the one in a hundred plays that might make SportsCenter. I've learned that is not what wins games."


Fennelly said he always teases Medders, ‘that's not going to be on ESPN tonight' and then Medders will do something and she'll ask ‘did ESPN get that?'


"I've tried to tell her that there's no degree of difficulty in this sport," Fennelly said. "Let's make the easy play.


"Ron is what you expect, Midwest farm family, come to work every day, do my job, do it right and have some pride in it and at the end of the day feel like I've accomplished something and that I contributed to my team and that I can walk out of here feeling I did an honest days effort."


Fennelly said Medders is the same ways effort wise, but adds a bit more flair.


"I think part of it is Lyndsey's position," Fennelly said. "When you're the point guard and you have the ball all the time there's a little Magic Johnson there.


"I think it's good…sometimes. I've gotten a few more grey hairs, but it's fun and I think the crowd likes it."


Ronhovde decided to stay close to home, while Medders traveled half-way across the country to play college basketball, both players said there was a major deciding factor in their decision process – Coach Fennelly.


"Surprisingly, [Iowa State] had every single aspect I was looking for in a college program," Medders said. "The first seller was Coach Fennelly. I don't believe there is anyone better at that job than him. He makes you want to become a better player, but more importantly a better, more complete person, and I felt that honesty/sincerity with him from day one of the recruiting process.


"The only question mark I ever got was that it was smack-dab in the middle of Iowa, but that wasn't a problem as I traveled a lot as a child, and I love experiencing new things."


Iowa State's past successes drew Ronhovde in.


"I wanted to be part of program that was well respected," she said. "I loved the campus and people, so it just seemed like the perfect fit for me."


Their freshmen season the Cyclones finished the season with an 18-15 record and an appearance in the Women's National Invitational Tournament final four. Both played integral parts in Iowa State's success.


Medders started 21 games on her way to breaking the ISU freshman assist record (108).


All the while Medders did it while battling consistent tonsillitis and shoulder problems.


"I was physically and mentally worn down," she said. "So I hit the wall for about a month from mid-December to mid-January. But after the first couple Big 12 games, I found myself becoming more comfortable again and just tried to take the pressure off myself."


While Medders was hitting the ‘freshmen wall,' Ronhovde was dealing with the transition from high school to the Big 12.


"There was a lot of adjustment freshman year, but since then I've known what to expect as far as the time commitment with classes and basketball. It's a lot of work, but it gets easier every year as well," said Ronhovde, who started 18 games and led the Cyclones with 64 3-point baskets, setting the ISU freshman record.


Last season Medders admitted she hit the sophomore slump at the beginning of the year.


"I didn't have as productive a summer as I needed after the shoulder surgery," she said. "I was a bit out of shape, and I didn't start the first couple games as a result of it. I didn't deserve to be out there. But, once again, I dug a hole and found a way to get out after the first few games."


With the support of her teammates and coaches Medders said she was given opportunity after opportunity to break through.


It wasn't only a break through season for Medders; it was one for the Cyclones as a whole.


"We accomplished some great goals last year," Ronhovde said. "Going undefeated at Hilton, tying for third in the Big 12, 20 + wins, and making back to the NCAA Tournament. I think those achievements will be building blocks to look at when we determine what are goals are this season."


Both spent the summer in Ames, knowing with the departure of five seniors they'll be looked upon to carry the load for the team until the newcomers find their roles.


"They're both exactly the kind of people we need at the right time and they're only juniors," Fennelly said.


Medders spent the summer working with former Cyclone sharp-shooter Jake Sullivan and focusing more time in the weight room with ISU strength coach Andy Moser; while Ronhovde said she worked on her ball-handling and driving to the basket more.


And as the saying goes, ‘one's a little bit country and the others a little bit rock ‘n roll.'


"It will be interesting to see when they have their own families how they relate the things Megan learned from Lyndsey and the things Lyndsey learned from Megan," Fennelly said. "But it's been a good pair and what they've done for each other is really good and that's one of the cool things about college. Those two would never have met, never have thought about meeting if they wouldn't have been on the same college basketball team. Now they've built a relationship that will last a lifetime."

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