Welcome to 2024, ladies and gentlemen!
Iowa State has hit their stride heading into the new year. Since falling in the Cy-Hawk Game on December 6th, they’ve won 4 in a row including a road conference opener win on December 30th in Stillwater against the Cowgirls. The return of senior guard Emily Ryan has really helped unlock the Cyclone offense, albeit in somewhat limited minutes.
Ryan has come back to the tune of 15 minutes per game, scoring 6.7 points and dishing out 4.0 assists per game. While she’s not at 100% yet, it’s nice to see the Point God back out there and leading the team while on the court. And speaking of point guards, how about freshman Arianna Jackson? Her best performance on the season came in the conference opener against Oklahoma State, scoring 14 points and shooting 5/7 from the floor (4/5 from the perimeter.) With Addy Brown and Audi Crooks filling their roles to perfection, this freshman class is more than shaping up to be all it was cracked up to be before the season started.
Meanwhile, for the Jayhawks, they come into Hilton Coliseum 0-1 in conference play having lost to 25th ranked West Virginia in their Big 12 opener. The road doesn’t get any easier for Kansas as they now face back-to-back road games before taking on 6th ranked Baylor all over the next week. But while the Jayhawks have hit a few bumps in the road, their future, much like the Cyclones’, looks very bright. Freshman guard S’Mya Nichols leads the team in points per game with 13.3 and assists per game with 2.8. She’s also an effective 3-point shooter at second on the team at 40.6%. While she hasn’t shot the deep ball particularly well over the last 3 games at just 1-5, she’s still a threat with the ball in her hands. Look for the Cyclones to try and limit what she does on the offensive end.
The game with tip off at 6:30 pm at Hilton Coliseum on ESPN+.