Iowa State a Tough Matchup for Gonzaga - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Iowa State a Tough Matchup for Gonzaga

Updated:
Taelor Karr and Gonzaga will have a tough test in Iowa State on Saturday. Taelor Karr and Gonzaga will have a tough test in Iowa State on Saturday.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

If you look at the matchup in the simplest of forms, it is Gonzaga vs. Iowa State at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

On Saturday at 1:15 PT, that game will tip in first-round NCAA women's tournament action. It's a home game for the 12th-seeded Bulldogs, while the 5th-seeded Cyclones had to travel halfway across the country.

"I feel like it's an honor to be able to play in front of people that believe in us.  We want to give them a good show, make sure we're playing our game, playing with passion, playing hard, give them something to be excited about."

It's an undeniable advantage for Gonzaga, but if you delve further into the matchup, Iowa State is the one that begins to pose problems.

The Cyclones' frontcourt is a talented trio of Anna Prins (6-foot-7), Chelsea Poppens (6-foot-2) and Hallie Christofferson (6-foot-3). Gonzaga will be forced to match one of its three starting guards on one of the aforementioned Iowa State forwards, which will give the Cyclones a significant height advantage.

Gonzaga forwards Sunny Greinacher (6-foot-4) and Shelby Cheslek (6-foot-5) will have a challenge on their hands, especially with Prins. Both are underclassmen, though, and their experience does not match the trio of upperclassmen Iowa State has in its frontcourt.

That being said, there have been games earlier this season that have helped prepare Gonzaga and its young frontcourt. Haiden Palmer said the team can draw from a loss to Ohio State in December, as well as three matchups against BYU's Jennifer Hamson.

"It's hard to compare them as a team, but the good thing is we played BYU in our conference, who has a really tall girl, [6-foot-7] I think," Greinacher said. " We're used to play that tall person inside, so I think that will help us out."

"From those people that have watched us day one, we were pretty ugly in November and December, our inside kids have really improved," head coach Kelly Graves said. " That's where we've made our biggest stride.  I think we'll be able to handle that a little bit better this time around because we are more experienced."

The dangerous aspect of the Iowa State offense is that the guard play is arguably just as strong as the post play. Sophomore Nikki Moody is third in the nation with 7.3 assists per game and fellow sophomore Brynn Williamson was second in the Big 12 from beyond the arc, at 36.2 percent.

With it so easy to focus a lot of attention on the frontcourt, it can be easy to overlook the backcourt.

"They're just as good, they've got a lot of size," said senior Taelor Karr on Iowa State's guards. "It's going to be tough for us to match up because our guards, we're kind of short. They're quick, they're good shooters, they like to drive -- they can do it all. It's not like you can just guard for the drive or guard for the shot, so we're going to have to be tough on defense, stay physical, stay mentally focused."

Time will tell if the Bulldogs can stay physically and mentally tough enough to top the Cyclones and move on in the tournament. But hey, who knows what could happen?

"Playing in front of the home crowd here is great," Karr said. "My senior year, last time, last go around, I want to play my best, see what happens. "

  • College SportsCollegeMore>>

  • Zags Dominate Portland in Doubleheader

    Zags Dominate Portland in Doubleheader

    Gonzaga University baseball combined for 16 runs on 19 hits in Friday’s doubleheader sweep over the University of Portland at Patterson Baseball Complex.The two wins give the Bulldogs (14-23, 10-7 WCC) the series over the Pilots (8-32, 2-15).>>
    Gonzaga University baseball combined for 16 runs on 19 hits in Friday’s doubleheader sweep over the University of Portland at Patterson Baseball Complex.The two wins give the Bulldogs (14-23, 10-7 WCC) the series over the Pilots (8-32, 2-15).>>
  • Ducks Big Inning Cost WSU

    Ducks Big Inning Cost WSU

    Oregon scored five times in the fourth inning and the No. 10 Ducks defeated visiting Washington State 6-3 in Pac-12 baseball at PK Park, Friday.>>
    Oregon scored five times in the fourth inning and the No. 10 Ducks defeated visiting Washington State 6-3 in Pac-12 baseball at PK Park, Friday.>>
  • Whitworth Softball NWC Tournament Results

    Whitworth Softball NWC Tournament Results

    The Whitworth University softball team suffered a 3-2 loss to second-seeded Pacific (Ore.) in the Northwest Conference Tournament, hosted by Linfield College, on Friday afternoon.Pacific took a 1-0 lead after a Rachel Roberts single allowed Becca Moen to score for the Boxers.>>
    The Whitworth University softball team suffered a 3-2 loss to second-seeded Pacific (Ore.) in the Northwest Conference Tournament, hosted by Linfield College, on Friday afternoon.Pacific took a 1-0 lead after a Rachel Roberts single allowed Becca Moen to score for the Boxers.>>
  • GonzagaGonzagaMore>>

  • Zags Dominate Portland in Doubleheader

    Zags Dominate Portland in Doubleheader

    Gonzaga University baseball combined for 16 runs on 19 hits in Friday’s doubleheader sweep over the University of Portland at Patterson Baseball Complex.The two wins give the Bulldogs (14-23, 10-7 WCC) the series over the Pilots (8-32, 2-15).>>
    Gonzaga University baseball combined for 16 runs on 19 hits in Friday’s doubleheader sweep over the University of Portland at Patterson Baseball Complex.The two wins give the Bulldogs (14-23, 10-7 WCC) the series over the Pilots (8-32, 2-15).>>
  • WSU, Zags to Face Off at the Spokane Arena Next Season

    WSU, Zags to Face Off at the Spokane Arena Next Season

    Washington State is reportedly moving their home game vs. Gonzaga to the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena this upcoming season.>>
    Washington State is reportedly moving their home game vs. Gonzaga to the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena this upcoming season.>>
  • Zags Sign Arvydas Sabonis' Son to NLI

    Zags Sign Arvydas Sabonis' Son to NLI

    Domantas Sabonis, son of NBA Naismith Hall of Famer and Portland Trail Blazers great Arvydas Sabonis, has signed a letter-of-intent to attend Gonzaga University this fall, Bulldog head coach Mark Few said Thursday.>>
    Domantas Sabonis, son of NBA Naismith Hall of Famer and Portland Trail Blazers great Arvydas Sabonis, has signed a letter-of-intent to attend Gonzaga University this fall, Bulldog head coach Mark Few said Thursday.>>