Leading up to the opening of the 2022-23 Big 12 women’s basketball season Heartland College Sports will analyze each of the Big 12 women’s basketball rosters. Today it’s the Iowa State Cyclones.
2021-22 Season-Ending Roster: F Nyamer Diew, G Denae Fritz, G Emily Ryan, G Mary Kate King, G Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw, F Izzi Zingaro, G Aubrey Joens, G Lexi Donarski, G Maddie Frederick, G/F Ashley Joens, C Beatriz Jordão, F Morgan Kane, F Maggie Vick
No longer at Iowa State: G Aubrey Joens (transferred to Oklahoma), Frederick (transferred to Nova Southeastern).
2022-23 Season-Opening Roster: F Nyamer Diew (6-2, Jr.), G Denae Fritz (5-11, Fr.), G Shantavia Dawkins (5-7, Fr.), C Stephanie Soares (6-6, Sr.), G Emily Ryan (5-11, Jr.), G Mary Kate King (5-3, So.), G Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw (5-10, Sr.), F Izzi Zingaro (6-4, So.), G Lexi Donarski (6-0, Jr.), G/F Ashley Joens (6-1, Sr.), C Beatriz Jordão (6-3, Sr.), F Morgan Kane (6-3, Sr.), F Maggie Vick (6-2, So.).
How The Cyclones Are Built
Returning Players (11): Diew, Fritz, Ryan, King, Espenmiller-McGraw, Zingaro, Donarski, Joens, Jordão, Kane, Vick.
Transfers (1): Soares (transferred from Master’s University – NAIA).
Freshman/Recruiting Class (1): Dawkins.
Potential starting lineup: Diew, Donarski, Joens, Ryan, Soares
Why?: The Cyclones boast four returning starters. Diew, Donarski, Joens and Ryan all started last season, and Donarski, Joens and Ryan all averaged double-figures in scoring. Donarski was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Joens led the Cyclones in rebounding and nearly averaged a double-double. Ryan is one of the league’s two best point guards. Soares, even though she’s making the big transition from NAIA to Division I, figures to be the fifth starter because she gives the Cyclones height they didn’t have last season. She averaged a double-double as the two-time NAIA Player of the Year. The Cyclones need her rebounding and shot blocking more than her scoring initially. She picked up a gold medal with Brazil and the South American Championships, averaging 10.2 points and 5.6 rebounds.
The bench: Espenmiller-McGraw, Jordão, Kane
Why? The Cyclones have solid frontcourt depth with Jordão and Kane. Both were in the rotation last year and figure to be the first forwards off the bench. Espenmiller-McGraw gets the majority of the playing time at backup guard that Aubrey Jones vacates by transferring to OU. But the Cyclones still need another guard off the bench. Fritz and King figure to compete for that remaining time.
The wild card: Dawkins. I think she could become the second guard off the bench. Iowa State has had good experience with Canadian recruits (Bridget Carleton comes to mind). Beyond Espenmiller-McGraw, the remaining guards have little experience. There is an opening for Dawkins to stake a claim to early playing time.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.