Bryanna Fernstrom only played 24 minutes against USC Upstate on Sunday, but the freshman from Center City, Minnesota made her presence known, dropping 25 points (8-of-16 FG) en route to an Iowa State freshman record for points in a career debut and this season’s first Big 12 Freshman of the Week award.
Not too shabby, right?
Fernstrom’s 25 point performance was not a quiet one. She made her presence known early as she tallied 12 of Iowa State’s first 14 points in the game in the first 3:35 of the game. Her last shot during that stretch was a 3-pointer she hit at the top of the key, forcing a USC Upstate timeout and igniting Hilton in a round of applause.
What made Sunday night even more special was the fact that Fernstrom had her own fan club at the top of section 122. An eight-car caravan of more than 60 people drove down from her hometown to watch her play. Some of whom she admits she has never met before.
The trip to Ames for Sunday’s game wasn’t spur of the moment as the group had it planned for a while. It was also just a coincidence that Fernstrom earned a spot in the starting lineup just a few days before the game.
“I know they would have really enjoyed seeing me start and thought that was really cool,” Fernstrom said. “I thought it would be great to start in front of them and I tried to take advantage of the opportunity.”
Fernstrom says she was motivated by their presence, as her entire high school team showed up for the game.
“I definitely wanted to show them improvement from high school and show them if they work hard they can be in the same position,” she said.
For most freshmen, nerves often overtake you in your first career start, but for Fernstrom that wasn’t the case.
“I am calm for the most part, I don’t really get nervous unless it’s a really, really big game,” Fernstrom said. “I wasn’t really nervous at all. I don’t know if I should have been. I just don’t show emotion or facial expressions. I always compare myself to Kidd where she like yells and screams and pounds her chest and I am just stone faced. I will get excited, but I am just really laid back.”
If you’re wondering how Iowa State landed the 6-5 center, Fernstrom says the decision wasn’t that difficult.
Iowa State was one of the first schools she visited and she found herself comparing all the others to the Cyclones. In the end, Iowa State had exactly what she wanted, a great fan base, a steady coaching staff and a separate practice gym for women’s basketball. She committed to Iowa State in the spring of her junior year.
Fernstrom and the Iowa State Cyclones will take the court tonight to take on instate rival Drake and though there won’t be a 60-plus member fan club at the top of section 122, the freshman will be ready to go.