The Iowa State Cyclones enter the 2012-13 season just outside the top 25 rankings.
If they want to move up, senior forward Chelsea Poppens will be a large part of that.
Cody Westerlund of the Ames Tribune put together a great feature article on the 6-foot-2 senior over the weekend, highlighting both her biggest strength and the weakness she'll have to overcome in order to be even more productive for the Cyclones.
Notably, Poppens accomplished all her work in just 26.8 minutes per game, a paltry number for a star player on a team that didn't rout opponents, because she was often in foul trouble. That she so often drew the ire of the referee's whistle isn't pleasing to Fennelly...Flanigan, the Aplington-Parkersburg coach, can’t say he didn’t see it coming either, considering how she went about practice all her life.
"I remember doing rebounding drills, and she would just be killing people," says Flanigan, who follows Poppens and the Cyclones closely. "She’d get every rebound. I’d have to do some drills without her included, for her safety and everybody else’s. Not because she was out of control but because she was, ‘I’m going to get the ball at any cost.’"
Ask most anyone, and that willpower is the one trait that’s allowed Poppens to be successful throughout her Iowa State career, during which she’s played in 96 of a possible 97 games, starting 83 of them. She’s a quality athlete, strong and fundamentally sound at 6-foot-2, but in no way is she remarkably athletic.
It's an in-depth article with plenty of great information to digest, but that section in particular really stood out because it pretty much sums up Poppens' profile as a 2013 WNBA draft prospect - a relentless rebounder, which bodes well for a WNBA draft prospect but isn't remarkably athletic and has some concerns about foul trouble and turnovers that she could probably stand to improve upon if she wants to be successful at the next level.
While the article addresses Poppens and her role in the team's success - which reflects their experience on the frontline - their guard situation is a little shakier, as alluded to earlier today on the @CycloneWBB twitter account.
On Kidd: "She needs to give us some scoring and we obviously need another ball handler. And like most FR she needs to learn defense isn't...— Cyclone Basketball (@CycloneWBB) November 5, 2012
.....just something you do until you get the ball back."— Cyclone Basketball (@CycloneWBB) November 5, 2012