AMES | Hallie Christofferson may be option A, B and C offensively for the No. 22 Iowa State women’s basketball team.
Her performance during Sunday’s season-opening 84-55 win over North Dakota had coach Bill Fennelly talking about the 6-foot-3 taking the step from an all-Big 12 performer to an all-American.
Christofferson scored a career-high 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while Jadda Buckley, a freshman from Mason City, led the Cyclones with six assists and added six points as Iowa State turned up the heat in the second half and wore down an overmatched North Dakota team.
“No. 5 is pretty good,” Fennelly said.
Pretty good may be an understatement for the 6-foot-3 senior from tiny Hamlin, Iowa, who is a unanimous preseason all-Big 12 selection.
“We all know how good she is but it’s nice to see her put up those kind of numbers so maybe some of the people in the rest of the country will realize how good she is,” Fennelly said.
Christofferson was the star Sunday as she climbed to 19th on Iowa State’s career scoring list but she had plenty of support.
Nicole Blaskowsky scored 14 points and grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds off the bench while Nikki Moody reached double figures with 10 points. Iowa State’s bench outscored North Dakota’s bench 27-13.
The question going forward is who Iowa State’s second scoring option becomes.
Blaskowsy fit the bill Sunday coming off the bench.
Fennelly hopes Buckley, along with fellow starting freshman Seanna Johnson, can rise to the occasion as well.
Sunday it wasn’t about scoring for Buckley, the former all-state point guard at Mason City High.
“J, she gets us into an offense and she’s calm about,” Christofferson said of Buckley. “She doesn’t panic. She settles us down and gets things going.”
Buckley spent time at the offguard position Sunday and slid to the point when Nikki Moody encountered foul trouble in the second half. Buckley played the entire second half before the game was out of reach in the waning minutes.
She played 26 minutes and even recorded a thunderous block in the second half as Iowa State wore down a much bigger North Dakota team.
“I thought Jadda was really good, especially when Nikki got her fourth foul,” Fennelly said. “We are starting them (Buckley and fellow freshman Seanna Johnson) because we believe in them and we trust them.”