Former Iowa State starter Kylie Feuerbach explains why she's headed to Iowa
When former Iowa State women’s basketball player Kylie Feuerbach started looking for a new school, her parents made it clear they'd support whatever she decided. They just wanted her to find the perfect fit — even if that meant going to their alma mater’s biggest rival.
Feuerbach, a starter for most of her first season at Iowa State, will play for the Cyclones’ in-state adversary after deciding to transfer to the Hawkeyes. It’s an unexpected move for Feuerbach, who grew up a big Iowa State fan and in a house of former Cyclones including her mom, dad and brother.
“It’s just one of those things that they completely understood,” Feuerbach said in a telephone interview with The Register on Saturday. “They’ll be cheering me on as a Hawkeye, even though they’re big Iowa State alumni. They completely understand and they’re really excited and happy for me.”
Feuerbach’s decision stunned fans and added another interesting dynamic to the Cy-Hawk rivalry. The 6-foot guard from Illinois was part of a prized recruiting class for the Cyclones when she committed to Iowa State out of high school. Feuerbach, ranked the 71st-best player in her class by ESPN, even seemed like the perfect fit for Iowa State.
Her dad Steve and mother Lisa attended college in Ames. So did her brother Nick. Feuerbach’s grandfather, Orlyn, played basketball for the Cyclones in the 1940s.
Feuerbach was well on her way to making her own mark at the school, starting 24 of her 28 games during her first season at Iowa State. Feuerbach helped the Cyclones reach the NCAA Tournament, averaging 5.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.
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She grabbed a starting spot when the season began and won Big 12 Freshman of the Week honors twice. But Feuerbach said she realized after one season at Iowa State that it wasn’t where she wanted to be. So she entered the transfer portal this month and began looking for a new home.
“The program’s great,” Feuerbach said of coach Bill Fennelly's Cyclones. “I just didn’t think it was the best fit for me.”
Feuerbach said after entering the transfer portal, she narrowed her choices to about five schools. Iowa continually kept coming up as the top choice. It helped that the Hawkeyes have Caitlin Clark.
Clark, a former star at Dowling Catholic coming off a huge freshman season for Iowa, played with Feuerbach on the All Iowa Attack AAU team. Their team won a national championship. Reuniting with Clark was a big selling point for Feuerbach.
“She can make things happen,” Feuerbach said. “I like her as a person, outside of basketball. As a player, she’s an amazing player. She can do a lot of things and I’m just really excited to be able to play with her again along with a lot of the other girls.”
But that wasn't the only part that convinced Feuerbach to head to Iowa City.
"I know the program that they have and the way they play is just extremely up-tempo and I really like that type of play," she said.
Now that she’s moving to the eastern half of the state and playing for Iowa State’s rival, Feuerbach understands it may upset some fans.
“Obviously both fan bases are extremely, extremely big and supportive of their schools,” she said. “It’ll be definitely different playing against Iowa State as a Hawkeye. But I have nothing but respect toward them and their program. Obviously, I can’t wait to be a Hawkeye and play for their team and that fan base. Obviously, Hilton Magic is something special as well, so that will be something missed. I just can’t wait and I’m excited for what’s to come with being a Hawkeye.”
Tommy Birch, the Register's sports enterprise and features reporter, has been working at the newspaper since 2008. He's the 2018 and 2020 Iowa Sportswriter of the Year. Reach him at email@example.com or 515-284-8468. Follow him on Twitter @TommyBirch.