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Twister Sisters Before the Storm: Northern Iowa

In-state matchup!

Last Time Out

No. 7 Iowa State handled Southern in a 79-55 victory, but it was not the prettiest 24-point win you’ll see. The Cyclones shot just 39.7% from the field and 24.2% from beyond the arc. It was an impressive day on the glass, however, out-rebounding the Jaguars 50-23. Iowa State asserted its dominance in the paint as well, winning the paint duel 34 to just 10 from Southern.

Lexi Donarski saved the day with a 22-point performance that featured 5 of Iowa State’s 8 three-pointers on the day. Emily Ryan added 19 points, 6 assists, and 5 boards while Ashley Joens had an “off” night that saw 15 points and 14 rebounds. Stephanie Soares had 8 points and snagged 8 rebounds, while Nyamer Diew scored 3 points and grabbed 8 boards off the bench.

About Northern Iowa

It’s hard to look at stats just a few games into the season, but on paper, UNI isn’t that different of a team than Iowa State. They like to push the ball, getting nearly 75 possessions per game so far this season. For reference, Iowa State averages 73. Stats are fun so here’s this: UNI scores 94.7 points per 100 possessions (123rd in the country) while Iowa State is currently scoring 112.9 points per 100 possessions. You might be saying to yourself “Aiden, make it make sense” and I know, I know, here’s your explanation. The Panthers get to the free throw line nearly 26% of the time, good for the 19th best rate in the country. They are, however, shooting just 51% from the charity stripe which ranks 338th (of 358) in the nation. They knock down twos and threes at an excellent rate but have struggled with the free ones.

On the defensive end, they statistically rank in or around the top 50 in steals, steal rate, blocks, and block rate. They’re long and get a ton of tips, which leads to a lot of steals. Cailyn Morgan provides an excellent defensive spark off the bench for the Panthers to force a lot of turnovers. Iowa State is currently grabbing 20 offensive rebounds per game (53.5 total per game) and UNI is only giving up 10 offensive rebounds per game (37.5 total per game), something has to give!

Grace Boffeli and Cynthia Wolf will have to step up in the paint for UNI to have a chance tonight. Boffeli (averaging 15.5 points per game) adds to the scoring threat of Maya McDermott (21 points against St. Louis) - whose role will significantly increase this season - and Kam Finley. A three-headed monster for the Panthers could be deadly for anyone else in the MVC this season, they’ll make for a great November test for the Cyclones

Opponent Player to Watch

Kam Finley TORCHED the Clonies last season. She went for 28 points on 10-16 shooting including 6-8 from long range. With Karli Rucker graduating after last season, Finley will be looked upon as the Panthers’ potential number-one option for the 2022-23 campaign. So far, she has been excellent. She’s 2nd on the team in scoring, averaging 14.5 points through three games while adding 3 steals per contest. Iowa State will definitely be looking out for her after her performance last year.

What Will Happen

Northern Iowa was Iowa State’s closest game last season, when the Cyclones edged out UNI, 70-69. I think this is a very underrated Panther team that was picked to finish just 5th in the Missouri Valley this year. That being said, UNI will hang around but the veteran leadership of the fighting Bill Fennellys prevails in the end. “Northern Iowa, southern Iowa, hell even western Iowa that’s basically Nebraska. Don’t matta. Clones in fo’.”

Iowa State University - 76

University of Northern Iowa - 64

Pick Three

  1. Ashley Joens cooks.
  2. Stephanie Soares hosts a block party.
  3. Iowa State gets the three-ball going for the first time this season.

Game Notes

The Matchup: Iowa State (#7) (2-0, 0-0 Big 12) @ UNI (2-0, 0-0 MVC)

Where: McLoed Center - Cedar Falls, Iowa

When: Wednesday, November 16 at 6 p.m.

TV: ESPN+ Talent: David Warrington, Adam DeJoode

Radio: Cyclone Radio Network/Varsity Radio App Talent: Noah Wolf, Jamie Steyer

Live Stats: SideArmSports