Women's Basketball

Iowa State’s all-hands-on-deck-approach leads to 89-59 rout of North Dakota State

Iowa State Cyclones guard Hannah Belanger (13) lays up the ball around North Dakota St Bison guard Elle Evans (21), guard Heaven Hamling (11), and guard Abby Krzewinski (40) during the second quarter of an NCAA women’s basketball at Hilton Coliseum on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in Ames, Iowa. © Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune / USA TODAY NETWORK

 AMES — For the past several seasons, Bill Fennelly’s Iowa State women’s basketball team could lean on record-setting stars such as Ashley Joens for wins. 

This season, the youthful Cyclones must fully adopt an all-hands-on-deck approach to victory — as Sunday’s 89-59 triumph over North Dakota State at Hilton Coliseum showed. Every ISU player who saw the floor scored at least one basket, led by talented freshman Addy Brown, who narrowly missed recording a triple-double while finishing with 16 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists.

“You guys know me, I love baseball,” Fennelly said. “Do you have the closer mentality or is it by committee? And our team is by committee. I think you saw that, probably, more so today than ever. We had six people in double figures and I think everyone feels that there’s a lot of people who can score.” 

Senior Hannah Belanger added 15 points, freshman forward Audi Crooks chipped in 13, and senior forward Nyamer Diew scored 12. Backup forwards Isnelle Natabou and Jalynn Bristow each produced a line of 11 points and seven rebounds for the Cyclones, who shot 56 percent from the field. 

“We are good offensively,” Diew said. “I feel like a lot of times (people) were like, ‘Oh, who’s gonna score this year?’ It’s, like, everyone can score. We have a lot of people who can score and that was evident today.” 

ISU (5-4)  bolted to an early 17-6 lead, but the Bison (4-6) put together a 14-4 run to trail by just one, at 21-20, with 8:26 remaining in the first half. The Cyclones immediately responded with a 13-2 flourish as Belanger scored eight points in a roughly two-minute span and Crooks contributed a pair of layups. ISU held North Dakota State to one field goal — an Abbie Draper 3-pointer — in the final six in a half minutes of the second quarter and led, 42-27, at halftime. 

The Bison were not able to mount a serious second-half rally and suffered their most lopsided defeat of the season.  

“A really good, solid win over a team that’s gonna win a lot of games,” Fennelly said. “Really excited that we got through it.”