January slate for Fennelly’s team has been challenge after challenge; KU up next

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When you compete in the Big 12, you expect challenges.

The January slate of games, however, facing Bill Fennelly’s basketball team is downright scary.

The Cyclones opened conference play at Oklahoma last week and faced a Sooner program, which has played in two of the last three Final Fours. That was followed by a home game with Baylor, the first #1-ranked women’s team to play in Hilton Coliseum.

This week, it’s a road trip to Kansas (receiving votes in the national polls) before playing host to defending NCAA champion Texas A&M. The month ends with a trip to Texas, hosting undefeated and 10th-ranked Texas Tech and travelling to K-State (receiving votes in the polls) and A&M (for the second time in 15 days).

Can we have a breather, please?

“A good example (of league strength) is that Nebraska was 12th seed in our conference tournament last year, and right now they are leading the Big Ten,” Fennelly said Monday. “Everyone knows it’s (the Big 12) a good league. That’s how it is in every sport.”

Iowa State is 0-2 in league play currently but gave a good account of itself vs. the top-rated Bears Saturday. A year ago, the Cyclones started 1-3 in conference games before rallying to win eight of its final 12.

Fennelly told his team in advance of the Baylor game to play hard, believe in the plan and make shots.

“We did two of the three,” he said. “When we get to the third one, we’ll have a chance to win some games.”

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at: twitter.com/SteveMalchow

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