“Good! Another Wellmark 3-pointer!”
For fans of the Iowa State women’s basketball program, the trademark call of play-by-play man Rich Fellingham has become synonymous with ISU’s style of play under head coach Bill Fennelly. The Cyclones are not afraid to fire away from beyond the arc.
The 3-pointer is one of the most emotionally-charged plays in basketball. It can swing momentum, build confidence and bring fans to their feet. While the announcement of a made 3-pointer echos through the rafters of Hilton Coliseum, fans wave their 3-point cards as the spirit squad tosses souvenirs into the stands.
During the Fennelly Era (1995-present), the 3-pointer has not been a one or two-year wonder, it has been central to Iowa State’s rise and stay in the women’s basketball ranks. Unsurprisingly, Iowa State has been the premier program in the country when shooting, and making, the ball from deep.
That’s right, Iowa State ranks first among ALL NCAA Division I schools in 3-pointers per game (7.82), 3-pointers made (4,745) and attempted (13,296) in the last 19 seasons.
It’s not just attempting 3-pointers that sets ISU apart from the rest, it’s the makes. Iowa State ranks fifth in all of Division I in 3-point percentage (35.69) since 1995-96. Couple that with ranking first in 3’s per game, made and attempted, and you can’t find a better university to root for or play for if you’re a fan of shots from long range.
Another compelling note: Iowa State has knocked down 4,745 trey’s to UConn’s 4,220, who sits in second for 3-pointers made since 1995-96. Even more impressive to the Cyclones netting 525 more 3-pointers to second-place UConn is the fact that they did it in 97 fewer games.
The Cyclones have netted an average of 7.82 3’s per game since Fennelly arrived, which is 0.99 3’s per game more than Villanova (6.83), which ranks second in all of Division I during that time.
In addition to all the impressive notes above, we can’t forget about THE STREAK. Iowa State also owns the NCAA’s longest streak for 3-pointers made. The Cyclones have netted one from deep in 612-straight games and counting.
Under Fennelly, the 3-point shot has become iconic. Some of the most memorable moments in school history revolve around a 3-point shot. Take Megan Taylor’s 3-point buzzer beater to upset No. 9 Texas in 1997, ISU’s 3-point barrage vs. UConn or Alison Lacey’s game-saving three against Michigan State to send ISU to its second Elite Eight.
Iowa State history is filled with incredible long-range shooters like Heather Ezell, Taylor, Kelsey Bolte and Stacy Frese. The current Iowa State roster also shows no sign of stopping the trend, with shooters like Brynn Williamson, who already ranks 10th in Iowa State history in career 3-pointers (182), Kidd Blaskowsky, Jadda Buckley and freshmen Nakiah Bell and Emily Durr.
Iowa State is branded in large part by what takes place beyond the arc, and that’s OK.
So, it seems, in the world of NCAA women’s basketball, Iowa State truly is REIGNing from three.