Cracking the starting lineup as a college basketball freshman isn’t an easy thing to do. This season the Cyclones boast two freshmen in their starting five, making Iowa State the only team in the AP Top-25 with two freshmen starting in every game this season. At the beginning of the year, head coach Bill Fennelly was peppered with questions about his starting lineup, but he was firm with his decision. With Iowa State now holding a 6-0 record and sitting at No. 20 in the AP rankings, the decision speaks for itself.
Since leaving Hilton Coliseum for a four-game road stint, freshman Seanna Johnson has been putting on quite the show. Johnson recently earned back-to-back Big 12 Freshman of the Week honors, which is something that hasn’t been done by a Cyclone since early in the 2011-12 season when Nikki Moody earned consecutive nods.
During the four-game stretch, there were many great plays and top moments, but there’s one in particular that stood out to me. In Iowa State’s last game against Auburn in Las Vegas, Nev., the Cyclones were trailing the Tigers by 11 points with 5:00 left on the clock in the first half. The ball seemed to be bouncing the Tigers way for much of the half, but Iowa State would mount a gritty comeback, led by none other than Seanna Johnson. She went on to score seven points during the five-minute stretch to help ISU take a one-point lead at the half. Johnson just kept finding a way to score, whether it was a skillful layup or drawing a Tiger foul to put herself at the line. At the half she had already entered double-digits with 11 points.
The freshman’s play garnered her enough attention to earn All-Tournament team honors at the South Point Shootout.
The game against Auburn wasn’t the Brooklyn Park, Minn. native’s only top performance, as she tallied a double-digit scoring game in each of the last four contests. Johnson nabbed her first career double-double against Drake with 14 points and 11 rebounds and was just two rebounds shy of recording a second-consecutive double-double with 20 points and eight rebounds against Eastern Washington.
Over the four-game road stretch Johnson averaged an impressive 16 points, seven rebounds and went 17-of-34 for 50 percent from the field. The best phrase to describe Johnson’s play is she has simply been a “Road Warrior,” and when you play in the toughest conference in the country, you could always use a few road warriors.