The Iowa State Cyclones women’s basketball team is headed for some major changes with the loss of one of their star players, Lexi Donarski, who recently entered the transfer portal. The 6-foot guard from Wisconsin has been a key contributor to the team’s success over the past three years, averaging 13.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. She also started all 95 games she played for the Cyclones. Donarski was a McDonald’s All-American in high school and won the Big 12 defensive player of the year award in 2022.
Donarski’s decision to leave Iowa State comes at a tough time for the team, which is also dealing with other notable departures. Backup players Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw and Maggie Vick, as well as starting forward Morgan Kane, also announced their departures from the team. Furthermore, the team was recently denied a waiver that would have allowed star center Stephanie Soares to play another season. To top it off, the team must also adjust to the loss of Ashley Joens, the leading scorer in Iowa State history, who recently graduated.
While Donarski has not provided any explanation for her transfer decision, Cyclones fans can certainly speculate. Many players have transferred in recent years due to the NCAA’s decision to allow players to transfer without having to sit out a year. This change has greatly impacted college basketball, and players now have a lot more freedom to transfer and play immediately for another team. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has also brought about unique challenges that student-athletes have had to face, which could also be a factor.
Coach Bill Fennelly and the Iowa State coaching staff will now have to adjust to these sudden roster changes and work to rebuild the team for the upcoming season. It will definitely be a challenge to replace the production and leadership of players like Donarski and Joens, but the Cyclones have always been known for their resilience and never-surrender attitude. While losing key players is never easy, it also provides an opportunity for new players to step up and take on bigger roles.
Overall, it’s a tough situation for Iowa State Women’s Basketball, but fans remain optimistic that the team will find a way to come out strong next season.