Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly learned something about his women’s basketball team Saturday in a hard-fought win in the Big 12 opener vs. Kansas State.
Tonight, Fred Hoiberg hopes to learn some similar things about his team in its conference opener against Oklahoma State.
“The thing we learned about our team (vs. K-State) is they can find ways to win even if it’s hard,” Fennelly said. “I didn’t know if this team had that in them.”
Fennelly’s team had built a 9-2 non-conference record, but the grind-it-out win against the Wildcats was more impressive to him.
“At this level of competition, it’s about finding a way to get a result and they did it in a way that has been unique to this team (so far this season),” Fennelly said. “That’s a credit to them.”
The men’s squad dropped a game to South Carolina over the weekend and Hoiberg wants to see some toughness.
“After getting punched in the mouth a couple of times, (it’s fair to ask) ‘can you learn from it’,” Hoiberg said. “We’ll see what we’re made of.”
ISU skated through much of the pre-league season but tonight’s game with Oklahoma State will be a battle.
“I hope they respond well,” Hoiberg said. “I know our guys are competitive from having been around them so much and I think we’ll respond.”
Should the Cyclones bounce back with a good effort Tuesday, Hoiberg and Fennelly can share a satisfaction that each is coaching a tough-minded team and that’s a great trait.