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AMES — Iowa State women's basketball coach Bill Fennelly supposes the only coach older than him in the NCAA tournament in Texas A&M's Gary Blair.
The two longtime coaches go back to the early 2000s when Blair took over the A&M job and Fennelly already was at Iowa State.
Iowa State and Fennelly hold the all-time series lead at 14-8 from when A&M was in the Big 12, but Blair's team has won the last four meetings.
Wednesday, the two former rivals will match up in the second round of the NCAA tournament when No. 7-seed Iowa State (17-10) plays No. 2-seed Texas A&M (24-2) at 6 p.m. (ESPN2).
'A&M is a team that a lot of people thought could've been a No. 1 seed,' Fennelly said. 'When you win the SEC regular season, that tells you how good they are.
'Gary's teams are always well coached and well prepared and his press conferences will be really long because he likes to talk — us old guys like to talk because our time is about up. I'll be the young guy in this matchup.'
Texas A&M reminds Fennelly of Baylor and Texas. The Aggies long, athletic, great defensively and love to rebound.
The Cyclones were swept by Texas during the season and went 1-1 against Baylor.
The win against Baylor happened in large part because the Cyclones stuck their nose in the action and actually out-rebounded the Bears, 45-41. Iowa State will need a similar effort on the glass Wednesday.
To put themselves in the best position possible to rebound, the Cyclones need to stay fundamentally sound on defense and not let the Aggies get by them on dribble drives.
'They attack the basket and offensive rebound,' Fennelly said. 'The biggest thing we have to do is set our defense and what we tell our players is, ‘We need to guard the front of their jersey, not the back.''
If the Cyclones are staring at the Texas A&M player's last name and their number, it means they're also not in a position to box out and get a rebound if the Aggies do miss.
The rebounding task will be made more difficult by Kristin Scott's limited minutes. The Cyclones' lone starting post player is dealing with injury and hasn't practiced in weeks. She was able to play 23 minutes in Monday's first-round win over Michigan State, but Fennelly isn't sure if he'll be able to count on that again.
'We're hoping to get some minutes out of Kristin,' Fennelly said. 'She's pretty sore right now, so we'll see.'
Fennelly didn't rule out playing Izzy Zingaro, who joined the team in January after graduating from high school in December and early-enrolling at Iowa State.
'If we can rebound, we'll hang around but if we don't, I'll be in my office in Ames on Thursday,' Fennelly said.