Unrivaled emotions

Jadda Buckley and Iowa State were inspired before the game against Iowa by emails from Cyclones supporters. Iowa State Athletics

Growing up in Iowa, I'd always been exposed to the in-state rivalry between Iowa State and Iowa. Cheering and watching as a fan, however, didn't come close to preparing me for the day that I would set foot on the court.

With it being our first Top 25 matchup of the season, the preparations had already begun a week earlier, and with that came nerves, excitement and anxiety -- a range of emotions that I never imagined.

With palms sweaty, legs shaking and nerves rising, it was about time to hit the floor, but first, head coach Bill Fennelly had a pregame talk with us. Walking in with a stack of emails in one hand -- from season-ticket holders sharing their joy and love of ISU basketball to previous players expressing the passion and incredible feeling of Hilton Magic -- he wasted no time cutting to the point: It all came down to going into the next 40 minutes with "no excuses and no regrets."

Nothing can describe the rush I felt when running out in front of 10,000-plus fans with the band roaring. We were prepared and it was time to execute. The game brought a whole new level of excitement; with Brynn [Williamson] hitting 3’s, Nikki [Moody] dropping dimes and Hallie [Christofferson] outhustling everyone, the team and Hilton itself were rocking.

As Hilton emptied after the game that night, I found a quick, quiet moment to myself. At last, I finally felt nothing but one simple emotion: joy. Our team was not only walking away with a victory over the Hawkeyes, but keeping our undefeated record as well.