Why Iowa basketball star Emily Ryan leads the Big 12 in minutes

AMES — The Iowa State women’s basketball team built a 20-point lead in last Saturday’s win over Kansas with 4:47 left when Cyclones coach Bill Fennelly decided to take point guard Emily Ryan out of the game.

Ryan had played virtually the entire game up to that point, recording eight rebounds, six assists and four points, when Fennelly finally felt comfortable sitting on top of one of his most important players.

“There’s something about having her in the game that puts everyone at ease,” Fennelly said. “That’s a good thing, especially for me.”

Iowa State’s star junior Ryan became the Iron Woman of the Big 12 Conference this season by amassing more minutes than anyone in the league. She’ll get a few more when the 17th-ranked Cyclones (13-4 overall and 5-2 in Big 12 games) take on Texas Christian (6-12 overall, 0-7 in Big 12 games) Wednesday at 6:30 p.m 12) play pm

Iowa State point guard Emily Ryan is such a valuable asset that she rarely gets to come out of games this season.

“I’m just trying to do my job and whatever the team needs,” Ryan said. “If I play 40 minutes, that’s what I’ll do. And if the team needs me there less, I will do that.”

The Cyclones have used Ryan almost every minute on the court during the 2022-23 season. Aside from a few one-sided victories during the non-conference season, the Cyclones have played one of the toughest game schedules in the nation, with an abundance of close games. And they’ve leaned heavily on Ryan, who leads the Big 12 at 35.3 minutes per game.