On Sunday, the Iowa State women’s basketball team will attempt to do something it’s never done before, improve to 13-0.
Iowa State’s start to the season has been one for the record books, with just the third-ever undefeated non-conference slate. The Cyclones are one of just nine Big 12 teams to post an undefeated non-conference schedule in the last nine years. There’s a reason just a handful of teams have accomplished this feat … It’s really hard. The road to 12-0 for Iowa State was no different and wasn’t without some gritty plays, key performances and tough games. I would love to sit here and list them all, but you would end up reading a short novel instead of a blog post.
The Cyclones improved to 12-0 with a win over TCU in the Big 12 opener on Thursday, and this was just the third time an Iowa State team has ever reached 12-0.
Here’s a look at the last two Cyclone teams that made it to 12-0.
The first was head coach Bill Fennelly’s inaugural season in 1995. Prior to Fennelly’s hiring, the Cyclones had started the last three seasons, 1-11, 5-7 and 7-5. In the 1995-96 season, Iowa State finished non-conference undefeated for the first time in school history and, just like this season had two road games to start conference play. The Cyclones fell at Oklahoma State 58-64, ending the win streak, which was an incredible start to his tenure and a sign of good things to come.
In 2001-02, the Cyclones were fresh off a Sweet 16 appearance the season prior and were paced by greats Angie Welle, Tracy Gahan and Lindsey Wilson. The Cyclones had a tough non-conference season, coming off three overtime victories, including two back-to-back for wins 11 and 12. Iowa State would fall at home to Kansas State in the Big 12 Opener for its first loss.
For this Iowa State team to reach 13-0 the Cyclones have to go through No. 25 Oklahoma on the road, easily its toughest game so far this season. The Sooners may not have an undefeated record, sitting at just 10-4, but their losses came against some of the best in collegiate women’s basketball in Duke, Louisville, UCLA and Marist.
Not to be outdone, Iowa State had a few tough games on its schedule, facing an athletic Auburn team and a top-25 showdown with in-state foe Iowa. This is also the 10th meeting between Iowa State and Oklahoma in which both programs are ranked and Iowa State holds a 7-2 edge in those matchups.
We can analyze trends, notes and statistics all day long, but it isn’t about that. This Cyclone team continues to impress and surprise everyone and no matter what, has already cemented its place in the record books and is poised for yet another memorable season.