Iowa State Cyclones forward Addy Brown (24) takes a shot around North Dakota St Bison forward Abbie Draper (2) and forward Avery Koenen (22) during the first 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 – True freshman Addy Brown flirted with a triple-double for the Iowa State (5-4) in a 89-59 win over NDSU (4-6) at Hilton Coliseum on Sunday.
Not only did the victory provide the stage for one of Brown’s best performances of the year, but the Cyclones again took a step forward on the court.
“I told my team after Wednesday’s game that I was proud of their preparation and their effort,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said after Sunday’s game. “I basically just said the same thing to them. This is a game that every coach fears – after the emotional Wednesday and finals starting tomorrow. You never know how you’re going to handle it and I thought we handled it great.”
In the first, it was Truman State transfer Hannah Belanger getting things started for the Cyclones, where she scored 12 of her 15 points in the game behind a 5-6 start from the field.
“I thought Hannah played the best game she has played since she got here,” Fennelly said.
Brown turned on the jets in the second half, collecting 10 points in the final 20 minutes to finish with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists as Iowa State rolled to its fifth win this season against a team that Drake beat by only 11 over the weekend.
“I didn’t know what to anticipate, but I could not have been more pleased with our focus and our effort,” Fennelly said. “That goes for every single person that played. I’m very encouraged.”
NDSU continued to punch back when Iowa State opened its lead up, but the Cyclones stayed resilient – that was an issue earlier in the season, but one that this team has gotten better at figuring out.
Iowa State finished the game with six players in double figures.
Nyamer Diew took home 12 points, with Audi Crooks recording 13 points with five rebounds.
Isnelle Natabou hit five of her eight free throws and found her way to 11 points, while Jalynn Bristow cashed in on a late and-1 to get to 11 as well.
“I would say yes,” Fennelly said when he was asked if this was his team’s most complete (8 min) performance of the year. “Because of the balance, the limited turnovers… shot selection was really good. We scored in the halfcourt, and in transition.”
Fennelly pointed out that they weren’t prepared to see a zone defense from NDSU, as well, but Iowa State made sure that wouldn’t be an issue.
“They went to a zone and to our kids credit – and the lack of preparation by the head coach, we practiced against a zone for zero seconds – but I thought they handled it great,” Fennelly said.
Iowa State will get a few days of rest due to finals week, but will return to the court for another Hilton Coliseum doubleheader on Sunday, December 17 to take on Troy (12:00 p.m. ESPN+).