Women's Basketball

WBB: Brown, Jackson hit three’s to push Iowa State to 3-0 Big 12 start

Iowa State Cyclones forward Addy Brown (24) and Kansas Jayhawks guard S’Mya Nichols (12) battle for a loose ball during the fourth 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

Addy Brown and Arianna Jackson combined to make nine three’s and 41 points together in Iowa State’s 80-75 win over BYU Saturday.

The Cyclones were able to pull away in the waning moments to start Big 12 play with three straight wins, also securing coach Bill Fennelly’s 600th career victory as the head coach in Ames.

“Obviously, I’ve been blessed to be at Iowa State this long and work with and for great people, and have a lot of great players,” Fennelly said. “But, I’m so proud for what our team did – and I feel bad that some of the attention will be on the 600, rather than the amazing effort tonight.”

The Cyclones, at times, found themselves in a 3-point shootout against BYU, and while Fennelly’s team’s throughout history thrived in that setting, it had been somewhat toned down in the pair of most recent seasons.

However, it was no problem Saturday, with the pair of freshmen sharp shooters outside of the 3-point line.

“After you make a couple of three’s and spread the court a little bit, they’re not quite as ready to go against a double-team in the post, so you kick it for a three,” Fennelly said. “A.J. hit some big ones, Addy Brown hit some big ones, and I think those are the things that make it hard to guard.”

Brown and fellow freshman Audi Crooks finished with eight and nine rebounds, respectively in the game, including a number of big moments down the stretch to help Iowa State seal the win.

Emily Ryan found a majority of her 11 points in the waning moments, as well.

“We were kind of a deer in the headlights early, just couldn’t get any rhythm going, but I thought we played a great second half,” Fennelly said. “We only turned the ball over four times, scored 50 points, and with (the five freshmen), Hannah (Belanger) hit some big shots and Emily Ryan did what Emily Ryan does in the fourth quarter.”

The 3-0 start puts Iowa State right in the thick of the Big 12 race with 1/6th of its conference games down.

Although, things don’t get any easier for the Cyclones.

“A skill is showing up,” Fennelly said. “A skill is toughness. A skill is ‘do you find a way to do it or do you find an excuse to why you’re not going to do it.'”

His team will welcome a pair of top 25 programs into Hilton Coliseum next week, facing West Virginia on Wednesday and Baylor on Saturday.

Big 12 WBB Standings
Iowa State 3-0
Baylor 3-0
Kansas State 3-0
Oklahoma 3-0
Texas 2-1
West Virginia 2-1
Texas Tech 2-1
Oklahoma State 2-1
TCU 1-2
Kansas 0-3
Cincinnati 0-3
Houston 0-3
UCF 0-3
BYU 0-3
Upcoming games (Wed. Jan. 10)
5:00 p.m. (ESPN+) | UCF (0-3) @ Cincinnati (0-3)
6:00 p.m. (ESPNU) | Oklahoma (3-0) @ Kansas State (3-0)
6:30 p.m. (ESPN+) | West Virginia (2-1) @ Iowa State (3-0)
6:30 p.m. (ESPN+) | Baylor (3-0) @ Kansas (0-3)
6:30 p.m. (ESPN+) | Texas Tech (2-1) @ Oklahoma State (2-1)
7:00 p.m. (LHN) | TCU (1-2) @ Texas (2-1)
7:00 p.m. (ESPN+) | BYU (0-3) @ Houston (0-3)