Youth is a common denominator in the Big 12 this season for women’s basketball, but No. 11 Iowa State has one of the best freshmen in the conference in forward Jadda Buckley.
Buckley is coming off a 29-point performance in the Cyclones’ overtime win at Oklahoma where she was 7-for-7 from the field, earning her third overall, and second straight, Big 12 freshman of the week honor.
Texas Tech (6-7, 0-2 in the Big 12) will try to contain Buckley when the Lady Raiders play Iowa State (13-0, 2-0) at 7 p.m. CST today at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.
Seanna Johnson joins Buckley as the other freshman in the starting lineup for the Cyclones, leading the team with 8.3 rebounds per game despite standing at 5-foot-10.
The Cyclones are a balanced team this season with five players averaging double figures — Hallie Christofferson at 21.0 points per game, Nikki Moody with 11.7, Buckley with 11.5, Nicole Blaskowsky with 10.2 and Johnson with 10.0. Iowa State leads the league and is No. 3 nationally in 3-point field goal percentage at 38.8.
Three Cyclones are shooting better than 35 percent from long range in Buckley, Blaskowsky and Brynn Williamson at 57.5, 46.1 and 36.3, respectively.
Iowa State is one of only five teams left in Division-I women’s basketball with an unblemished record and holds an 8-1 advantage on its home floor in Hilton Coliseum.
Tech’s lone win at Hilton Coliseum was in 2002, when current Lady Raiders coach Candi Whitaker scored eight points and had five assists.
Texas Tech enters today’s game still searching for its first conference win after falling to Oklahoma on Thursday and TCU on Sunday.
This is only the second true road game for the Lady Raiders this season.
Unlike Iowa State who plays six players 20 minutes or more, only junior Amber Battle and freshman guard Minta Spears consistently play close to 40 minutes a game for the Lady Raiders.
Otherwise, the entire Tech team gets an opportunity.
For example, freshman Ivonne CookTaylor averaged only eight minutes before playing for 32 minutes and recording her first double-double in the 65-54 loss to TCU.
Battle is the only Lady Raider to average double digits with 18.2 points per game.
Spears, after hitting a 3 with 47 seconds left in Tech’s final non-conference game Dec. 22 against Abilene Christian University, has gone 0 for 18 from the field since.
“That kid lives in the gym,” Whitaker said after the loss to TCU. “Shooters go through this at times. More than anything, she can’t dwell on it. She just has to focus on playing and doing all the other things — playing great defense, being a leader, making the open pass, finding a way to get to the free throw line — and know that she’s not the only one that’s ever been in a shooting slump and not hit shots. I’m not really focused on it, just more of her being a great team player.”