AMES - A long winning streak will be on the line this weekend when the Iowa State women's basketball team hosts the Cyclone Challenge at Hilton Coliseum.
The Cyclones will be eyeing their 70th consecutive non-conference home win today and can extend that streak with another victory Sunday.
And if records are any indication, Iowa (7-1) shouldn't have much trouble.
The Cyclones will take on Air Force (1-9) at 3:30 p.m. this afternoon in their opener of the weekend tournament and challenge Alabama State (2-7) at the same time Sunday.
Alabama State and Penn (4-4) face off in the first game Saturday at 1 p.m. Sunday's 1 p.m. game will feature Air Force and Penn.
The Cyclones won their first five games this season before suffering their only loss at Iowa. Since then, Iowa State is back on the winning track with two straight victories, including a win at Northern Iowa in the team's most recent outing.
Alabama State (2-7) vs. Penn (4-4), 1 p.m.
Iowa State (7-1) vs. Air Force (1-9), 3:30 p.m.
Air Force vs. Penn, 1 p.m.
Iowa State vs. Alabama State, 3:30 p.m.
Defense has been the name of the game so far for the Cyclones. They are holding their opponents to an average of 47 points per game and have held six of their opponents to 50 points or less.
The Cyclones will most likely try to press Air Force on Saturday and should do the same against Alabama State on Sunday.
Air Force began the season with nine straight losses before claiming an overtime win over Cal State-Bakersfield in its most recent game.
The Falcons are averaging 56 points per game and are getting outscored by an average of 16 points per contest this season. They also commit an average of 22 turnovers per game.
Leading the way in scoring for Air Force is Alicia Leipprandt at 12.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, and Dymond James is the only other player scoring in double figures at 10 points per tilt. James also leads the team on the boards at 6.9, while Katie Hilbig is grabbing 6.7 boards per game.
Iowa State, which has had nine consecutive winning seasons and hit a 3-pointer in 556 straight games, does not go very deep this season but still finds a way to average 67 points per game.
Hallie Christofferson and Chelsea Poppens are the two biggest reasons why.
Christofferson recorded her third double-double in four games with 21 points and 10 rebounds in the win over the Panthers and is leading the team at 15.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per contest. She has scored in double-figures in nine straight games dating back to last season.
Poppens missed three games following an early-season concussion but has since recovered and is shaping back into her all-Big 12 self. She currently averages 13 points and nearly 10 boards per game and is also coming off a double-double effort against Northern Iowa.
Anna Prins also scores in double-figures for the Cyclones at 11 points and six boards, while point guard Nikki Moody is scoring nearly 10 points and dishing out 7.3 assists per game, which ranks third nationally and tops in the Big 12. Brynn Williamson is the other starter and she is nearly scoring 10 points per game but the Cyclone bench is putting in just an average of 10 points per contest.
Iowa State has played Air Force just once in its history and that resulted in a 92-78 win back in 1988. The Cyclones are 7-1 all-time against teams from the Mountain West Conference, including 4-1 under current coach Bill Fennelly.
The Alabama State Hornets have just two wins this season and are 0-5 on the road. They scored 105 points in a win over Oakwood University earlier this season before earning a win over the University of Mobile in the team's most recent game.
Quentori Alford averages just more than 12 points and 11 rebounds per game to lead the Hornets, while Nakiya Smith is scoring a team-high 12.6 points per contest.
The Cyclone women will jump into Big 12 play after playing in their host tournament this weekend. Iowa State will face No. 20 Texas at Hilton Coliseum at 7 p.m. Wednesday.