Following a tough loss to the nation’s top-ranked team this past weekend, Texas has a chance to rebound with a win against Iowa State. The Longhorns own a 1-3 conference record, but can do a lot to improve their standing with a solid showing against the Cyclones.
The Cyclones (9-6, 0-4 Big 12) have lost their first four conference games this season and are tied with Missouri for last place in the Big 12. Each of their last four losses has been by an average of 18 points, so they’re not exactly hanging around late in games, either. It’s a pretty different scenario compared to the Longhorns’ last time out against No. 1 Baylor. Texas does have to keep in mind that all it takes is an off night of shooting and things can go haywire, so a game is never exactly a “gimme.”
“Some people see obstacles, and we are seeing opportunities,” said head coach Gail Goestenkors. “This is another great opportunity to show people what we are made of.”
The good news is that this game will take place in the friendly confines of the Frank Erwin Center, where the Longhorns are 7-3 this year and have handled teams not ranked in the top-five in the nation.
Texas would be wise to keep an eye on the Cyclones’ Chelsea Poppens. The 6-foot-2 junior forward averages 14 points and 11 rebounds a game and could pose some issues give the Longhorns’ recent rebounding woes. No other player averages over nine points a game, so Texas should be able to double Poppens if need be.
After seeing Cokie Reed in a protective boot on the sidelines against Baylor, the Longhorns may be shorthanded at the post position once more. This means Ashley Gayle and Anne Marie Hartung will be asked to play more and provide a post presence.
Despite a letdown against Baylor, the Longhorns are still a very good defensive squad with the ability score with ease as well. It’s important that this game is treated just like the Baylor game was in terms of magnitude and importance. At this stage in the season, every conference victory matters and no opportunity to improve in the standings should be squandered.
“We have had the motto from day one of respect all, fear none,” said Goestenkors.