Women's Basketball

ISU’s Addy Brown seeks to continue to shine against No. 24 West Virginia and beyond

Iowa State Cyclones center Isnelle Natabou (0), guard Hannah Belanger (13), forward Addy Brown (24), center Audi Crooks (55), and guard Arianna Jackson (2) celebrate after a score during the third quarter in the Big-12 home opening of an NCAA women’s basketball at Hilton Coliseum on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024, in Ames, Iowa. © Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune / USA TODAY NETWORK

 AMES — There’s a wall at the Iowa State women’s basketball practice facility dedicated to several former Cyclones who made the WNBA.

 And someday, versatile freshman forward Addy Brown could be on it.

 “There are a lot of people who have compared her to Bridget (Carleton) and Ash(ley Joens), which is fair, but I think she wants to be Addy Brown,” ISU head coach Bill Fennelly said earlier this season. “I think she’s already proven where her skill set is.”

 Brown — who’s averaging 15.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 5.4 assists — enters Wednesday’s 6 p.m. game between the Cyclones (10-4, 3-0) and No. 24 West Virginia (14-1, 2-1) as the reigning Big 12 freshman of the week. She’s notched seven double-doubles this season and has thought about joining that list of wall-worthy former stars. 

 “Hopefully one day my picture is on that wall,” Brown said earlier this season. “So for sure I think about that.”

 ISU will need to lean on the 6-2 Brown and her fellow freshman again in a week that features two ranked foes at home. No. 4 Baylor comes to Hilton Coliseum for a noon tip on Saturday.

 “I think West Virginia’s pressure and the way Baylor’s playing, we’re gonna see a style — that we don’t really fit that very well,” Fennelly said. “So we’ve gotta have, I think, more of a mental toughness than maybe we’ve had or needed to have in some other games because of what we’re facing, but I think you’ve gotta be very careful of getting too excited about one game or one week because there’s so many to go. But our players know what the opportunity is.”

 Freshman post player Audi Crooks has been the perfect bookend to Brown’s wide-ranging talents. The 6-3 Crooks averages a team-high 15.9 points in just 22 minutes per game — and plenty of her baskets have come off of Brown’s passes.

 “Addy just keeps getting better,” Fennelly said. “She’s a kid that has enjoyed her success, but she’s not satisfied. I think that’s the nature of a really good player and I don’t think there’s any question that she’ll continue to improve and continue to do the things she needs to do.”

 The same goes for All-Big 12 senior point guard Emily Ryan, who’s provided the Cyclones with a big boost off the bench since being cleared by the team’s medical staff to play in the Dec. 17 win over Troy. ISU will continue to manage Ryan’s minutes, but she’s been especially valuable late in games when youth-laden teams tend to struggle.

 “There’s no way we are where we are without (her) 20 minutes,” Fennelly said. “It’s just, as the schedule continues to get tougher, now you’ve gotta decide when you use them.”

 Brown’s been used the most. She averages a team-high 34.3 minutes per game and don’t expect that number to go down anytime soon — and for good reason.

 “I think she’s got a chance to be really special,” Fennelly said.