Mar 8 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Iowa State Cyclones forward Chelsea Poppens (33) against the Kansas State Wildcats during the second half of the quarters of the 2012 Big 12 Tournament at Municipal Auditorium. Kansas State beat Iowa State 67-63. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE

Big 12 Women’s Basketball Preview: Iowa State Cyclones

The Iowa State Cyclones had a pretty good 2011-2012 season. They finished with an overall record of 18-13 and a Big 12 Conference record of 9-9. They went 9-2 to start the year with their only losses being to #12 Penn State and Michigan. After the 9-2 start, the Cyclones went 0-5 in their first five Big 12 Conference games.

It seemed like Iowa State was “limping” along during conference play, but still finished .500 in the conference. In their first game of the conference tournament, they played the Kansas State Wildcats and lost 67-63.

The Cyclones still got into the NCAA Women’s Tournament and were selected as a 10th seed. They played their first round game in Ames, Iowa, but still lost to the 7th seed Green Bay Phoenix.

Iowa State is returning quite a few players this season which includes their leading scorer and rebounder from a season ago. Chelsea Poppens returns for her senior year at ISU. Last season, the 6-foot-2 forward averaged a double-double with 14.2 points per game and 10.6 rebounds per game.

Last year, Poppens was unanimously selected to the All-Big 12 first team, earned a honorable mention All-America honors from The Associated Press and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, and was named MVP of the Cyclone Challenge. She also became just the second Cyclone to record over 300 rebounds in a season.

Another returnee that the Cyclones are excited about this season is Nikki Moody. Last year as a freshman, Moody was third on the team with 10.0 points per game. She played in all 31 games, but only started in 29. She also became the first Cyclone since Kelsey Bolte in 2007 to average double figures during freshman campaign. She was named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team.

According to cyclones.com, Moody said “The biggest thing I learned is that you have to be tough. Toughness and the importance of decision-making are really what I learned last year. I was nervous, especially starting out I was really nervous because I didn’t know how I was going to do or what it would be like” when she was asked about how she can build off of her freshman season.

This season has a chance to be a good season for the Cyclones, but they will need to play better in the Big 12 from the start. They are not going to finish .500 this year if they start 0-5 in their first five conference games.

Mainly, this is because of the additions of West Virginia and TCU. TCU should not be a problem, but WVU might. The Cyclones will need to grab at least one game from the Mountaineers this season.

ISU will be better this season, but not by much. They will finish one game above .500 in the Big 12 and will make it to the NCAA Women’s Tournament.

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Tags: Chelsea Poppens Iowa State Cyclones Men's Basketball Nikki Moody Preview

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