Cyclones set to face TCU’s stingy perimeter defense

Iowa State freshman guard Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw drives to the hoop against Iowa’s Kathleen Doyle on Dec. 11th.

Iowa State (9-5, 1-2 Big 12) has struggled all season long protecting the ball as it has committed the second most turnovers amongst the Big 12 with 237 total turnovers.

The Cyclones are now tasked with facing one of the better defensive teams in the Big 12, the TCU Horned Frogs (11-3, 2-1 Big 12) at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Hilton Coliseum. 

TCU is one of five teams from the Big 12, that are listed in ESPNW’s current NCAA tournament projections. ESPNW’s Charlie Creme has TCU as a 10 seed currently.

The Horned Frogs have one of the premiere perimeter defenses in the Big 12, as they are third out of ten in three point percentage, allowing their opponents to shoot 26.4 percent from beyond the three point line thus far.

One of the reasons why TCU’s perimeter defense is difficult for opponents is because of junior and senior guards Lauren Heard and Kianna Ray, respectively.

Heard and Ray are the two leading Horned Frogs in steals per game with 2.3, which is tied for second in the Big 12. As a team, the Horned Frogs are third in the Big 12 in steals with 9.76 per game. 

Forcing turnovers is something that the Horned Frogs have done well all season, as they have forced 280 turnovers this season, third most amongst the ten Big 12 teams.

Turnover margin has been a problem for the Cyclones as they are last in the Big 12 with a -2.93 turnover margin. 

Offensively, the Horned Frogs are not one of the better teams in the Big 12. The Horned Frogs are ninth out of ten in Big 12 in scoring, averaging 70.5 points per game. Meanwhile, the Cyclones are averaging 77.5 points per game which is fourth in the Big 12.

Heard leads the Horned Frogs averaging 17.4 points per game. That’s six points behind Iowa State’s leading scorer, sophomore forward Ashley Joens, who is averaging 23 points per game, which leads the Big 12 and is fifth in the NCAA. 

While the Horned Frog’s offense may not be the best in terms of scoring, its defense makes up for it. Its opponents are scoring 62.4 points per game, which is fifth in the Big 12, while the Cyclones opponents are scoring 65.4 points per game, which in ninth in the Big 12.

These two teams have played 16 times all-time and have split the series 8-8. Iowa State is 5-3 against TCU in Ames.

Source: Iowa State Daily