There really isn’t anything Hallie Christofferson can’t do for Iowa State.
The 6-foot-3 senior forward plays on the outside, hits 3-pointers, posts up on the inside, rebounds, blocks shots and run the floor like a guard.
At 21 points and 7.7 rebounds a game this season, Christofferson is just one of four Cyclone starters averaging double figures in scoring. But K-State coach Deb Patterson knows if her Wildcats have any chance of stopping 13th-ranked Iowa State on Saturday night, it starts with the Cyclones’ versatile forward.
“She puts a lot of pressure on your defense,” Patterson said Thursday. “She’s like Ashley Sweat - she can shoot the 3 and she can three-dribble to the rim and can post you up. You have to be very accountable.”
The Wildcats are coming off their first conference win of the season on Tuesday, a 72-65 victory at Texas Tech that snapped a four-game losing streak. Iowa State, though being ranked all season, has struggled of late, losing its last two games — both at home — to Oklahoma State (69-62) and West Virginia (73-59).
(Kansas State’s Ashia Woods defends Oklahoma State’s Tiffany Bias on Jan. 8 at Bramlage Coliseum. K-State coach Deb Patterson said she thinks Woods is one of the best defenders in the Big 12right now. She’ll be counted on Saturday when the Wildcats host No. 13 Iowa State).
“They’re a beatable team — they lost two games at home recently — and we’re coming off a win, but we need to stay focused and know that they’re a great team and be ready to defend,” K-State guard Bri Craig said.
Again, if it comes down to defending, that starts with Christofferson, a task that is likely to fall to 5-11 junior Ashia Woods on Saturday when the Wildcats (7-9, 1-4 Big 12) host the Cyclones (14-2, 3-2) at 7 p.m.
“They attack you from every position on the floor, play hard, they’re tough and they have a lot of shooters,” Woods said of the Cyclones. “Christofferson has great numbers all over the floor, and with her being a bigger body who can step out and shoot, that throws a lot of teams off.
“She has a couple inches on me and I know she has good range. I need to keep her in front of me. The offense runs through her.”
Though Patterson said it could be a defense-by-committee approach on Saturday, she doesn’t believe there are too many defenders better than Woods right now in the Big 12.
“Ashia is playing as well as anybody that should be talked about for first-team All-Big 12,” she said. “She’s consistent, boarding the ball, handling the ball and the best defender in this league, short of Odyssey Sims — just a tremendous defender.”
Woods has been a steady force for K-State since coming back from her torn Achilles tendon in November, averaging nearly 15 points and 4.4 rebounds a game for the Wildcats in Big 12 play from both the guard and the forward positions.
“Being versatile is one thing, but just being 5-11, she’s willing to do what you put on her plate,” Patterson said. “That’s a lot of it. If you tell her to go guard this kid, she’ll do it. If you want her to handle and enter us into offense, she’ll do it. We need boards, Ashia, OK. Make free throws, Ashia, OK… I’m just so proud of her consistent focus out there.”
Texada banged up
The Wildcats will likely be without Haley Texada on Saturday. The junior guard missed the Oklahoma game with an injury and then was reinjured on Tuesday night at Texas Tech. Texada is considered day-to-day for now. Ashlynn Knoll could be inserted into the starting lineup if K-State decides to go bigger against the Cyclones.