Last Time Out
The Cyclones defeated a lethal North Dakota State team, 85-64. For the first time this season, Ashley Joens did not lead the team in scoring, as Lexi Donarski posted a 25 point performance to guide the Lady Clones to an easy win.
UNI has had 2 common opponents as the Cyclones in the early going, playing both South Dakota State and North Dakota State. The Panthers were not able to piece together a victory over the Bisen, but beat the Jackrabbits in similar fashion to how SDSU beat Iowa State earlier in the season.
The Panthers bring sit at 3-2, with a star player yet to emerge. Their bread and butter so far on the season has been their ability to spread the wealth on the offensive side, having 4 different leading scorers through their first 5 games. UNI might not have one great player, but as a unit they play detail-oriented basketball that drives other teams nuts.
Iowa State owns the all-time series lead, 36-10, but the Panthers have won the last two matchups. The Cyclones hold just a 14-8 edge when the game is played in Cedar Falls.
Opponent Player to Watch
While UNI has not really had a standout player yet, I think it is safe to say that Karli Rucker is their go to. She averages just a shade under 13 points to lead the Panthers, to go with 3.6 assists per game. She runs the show in Cedar Falls. The senior guard is what is going to take this team to the next level on both ends of the floor.
What Will Happen
One of two things will happen: Iowa State will live or die by the three. Winning on the road is always tough, but Bill Fennelly has coached teams just like this for the last 25 years. If the Cyclones continue to connect consistently from long range, it might not be close. If that is not the case, who knows what could happen. I think this is a “prove it” game for ISU freshman Lexi Donarski. She showed what she is capable of and now we see if she can give Ashley Joens some more help on the offense.
ISU - 75
UNI - 61
1 - Ashley Joens and Lexi Donarski combine for 50 points
2 - UNI’s leading scorer has less than 15 points
3 - The Twister Sisters can 12+ threes.
The Matchup: Iowa State (3-3, 1-0 Big 12) @ Northern Iowa (3-2, 0-0 Big 10)
Where: Cedar Falls, Iowa - McLeod Center
When: Tuesday, December 15, 6:30 PM (CST)
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network/Learfield Talent: Noah Wolf, Chris Williams
Live Stats: cyclonestats.com