AMES — Iowa State forward Hallie Christofferson listens and learns.
She’s so coachable, in fact, she doesn’t need much coaching.
“Sometimes, literally, I have to go up to here before practice and say, ‘Hey, I’m sorry, I haven’t talked to you in about three weeks,’” said Cyclone coach Bill Fennelly, whose No. 23 team (14-4, 5-3) travels to Kansas for a critical 7 p.m. Big 12 test at Allen Fieldhouse Wednesday. “She’s the least maintenance human being I’ve ever been around. It’s just incredible.”
So are the Hamlin native’s stats — particularly lately.
Christofferson enters the game against the Jayhawks (12-6, 3-4) with a scoring average of 17.5 point in the past four games.
She’s also averaging 8.5 rebounds per game in that span while shooting 66.7 percent overall (26-of-39), 58.3 percent from 3-point range (7-of-12) and 100 percent (11-of-11) from the foul line.
“I’ve just gotten more comfortable on the floor and not rushed things,” said Christofferson, who missed one shot from anywhere on the floor while scoring 23 points in ISU’s grueling 53-49 win Saturday at West Virginia. “It’s just kind of coming to me instead of going out and getting it. Just being a junior this year, you kind of get into a different role than in the past two years. It’s just kind of in the flow, I guess.”
Christofferson ranks 16th nationally in field goal percentage and has also hit 34-of-74 from beyond the arc (46 percent).
The 15 players who boast better overall shooting percentages are a combined 13-of-39 from long distance, indicating they primarily patrol the paint.
Christofferson, Fennelly said, shines inside and out — and against the Mountaineers spent some time guarding both the point and the post.
“She’s gone from, ‘I want to be a good player, a role player,’ to someone that wants the ball and is hunting her shot a little bit more,” said Fennelly, whose team fell in overtime at Kansas last season. “She hit a couple of shots in the West Virginia game that probably a month ago she would never have taken, let alone (made).”
Her assertiveness will be needed Wednesday and beyond.
The Jayhawks reached the Sweet 16 last season and returned several key players, including Carolyn Davis and Angel Goodrich.
“You’re playing in an historic place against a team that knows how to play,” Fennelly said.
Christofferson’s know-how stems from repeating what works and disdaining what doesn’t — in practice and on game nights.
“I guess I just do my own thing and if something needs corrected he’ll tell me,” she said.
It’s an uncommon requirement.
“Every day she’s in the gym and every day she’s around is a good day for us,” Fennelly said. “She’s that kind of person.”
HEY ROOK: ISU men’s basketball player Will Clyburn bristles at the term “rookie.”
“He hates being called (that),” roommate and teammate Korie Lucious said.
The versatile 22-year-old forward is, however, a first-year Big 12 player — and was named conference rookie of the week Monday for the second time this season.
“I know I’m going to hear a lot of jokes about it by the end of the day,” said Clyburn, who scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in Saturday’s win over then-No. 11 Kansas State.
End of the day?
Teammate Tyrus McGee couldn’t wait.
“Good job, rookie,” he joked to Clyburn.
The ISU men face Oklahoma State on the road at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
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