Under any measure, Cyclones off to a great start

Fennelly, Bill_Texas_2014-15

As the Big 12 women’s basketball race moves to the mid-point of the season this week, Bill Fennelly’s Cyclones are in third place with a 5-2 mark.

“We’ve had some close ones go our way,” Head Coach Bill Fennelly said. “We’re 5-2, which is great. Some people say you’re close to being 6-1 (but) we’re close to being 2-5 (too). The thing in this league is ‘can you find a way to win the close ones?”

Iowa State’s most-recent close encounter was Sunday’s one-point victory at eighth-ranked Texas. The Cyclones had never previously defeated a higher rated opponent on the road.

Three of ISU’s five conference wins have been decisions of five or fewer points. Iowa State, in fact, has more “tight” league wins than anyone else. TCU is 2-0 in close encounters and league leaders Oklahoma and Baylor are both 1-0 in games decided by five points or less.

Another measure that Fennelly referenced Monday was the way that former Iowa State men’s coach Tim Floyd measured the league standings. Earn one point for a road win and lose a point for a home loss. Road losses and home wins are neutral.

With Floyd’s benchmarking preference, ISU is at plus-2. Baylor and Oklahoma are +3 to lead the pack. TCU, at +1, is the only other school with a positive mark.

The true conference standings have ISU in third place. They’ve done it by winning close games and protecting the home court. If the Cyclones can continue those trends, they’ll be at the top of the Big 12 standings and positioned well for post-season play.

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