Ashley Joens: WNBA
Stephanie Soares: WNBA
Lexi Donarski: Transferred to UNC
Denae Fritz: Transferred to Baylor
Morgan Kane: Transferred to Nova Southeastern University
Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw: Transferred to Montana
It’s going to be a much different look for the Iowa State Women’s Basketball team and coach Bill Fennelly. There were many changes, some expected, some not, and the Cyclones find themselves flying a bit under the radar despite bringing in a Top 10 recruiting class. The freshman quintet of Jalynn Bristow, Addy Brown, Audi Crooks, Arianna Jackson, and Kelsey Joens (hey that name sounds familiar) will be a massive part of the Cyclones’ 2023-2024 campaign, especially with the uncertainty of starting point guard Emily Ryan who is currently unavailable due to a “health-related issue” holding her out indefinitely.
The Cyclones started their season with an exhibition against Truman State, where incoming senior transfer guard Haley Belanger used to play, on November 1st at Hilton. The Cyclones started Isnelle Natabou (a junior transfer from Sacramento State), Arianna Jackson (freshman), Haley Belanger (senior transfer from Truman State), Kelsey Joens (freshman), and Addy Brown (freshman) in their exhibition, and despite a slow start (up just 10 at the half) the Cyclones comfortably pulled away sparked by an excellent 3rd quarter, particularly from Kelsey Joens.
Joens led the team with 20 points and went 6/8 from the floor (5/7 from deep) and was aided in scoring by her freshmen counterparts as Addy Brown tacked on 16, Audi Crooks with 14, Bristow added 10, and Jackson had 8.
The Cyclones now start the season with a Butler team that really struggled last year in the Big East, going just 11-19 (6-14 in conference) but did pull off wins in 4 of their last 5 regular season games before losing in the Big East tournament. They did lose leading scorer Rachel McLimore though, and will have to have a “next man up” mentality to take charge. Sydney Jaynes will look to be that player, as she averaged 9.8 per game last year (2nd on the team.)
This should be a fun debut for the Cyclones in a game that they won't get to just meander through in order to win. A lot of new faces in the building as the Twister Sisters look to take on 2023.