Women's Basketball

WBB: Crooks scores big, but Iowa State falls short in back-and-fourth game with KU

Iowa State Cyclones center Audi Crooks (55) rebounds the ball around Kansas Jayhawks center Danai Papadopoulou (14)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

Audi Crooks put her Iowa State teammates on her back in her team’s Big 12 matchup with Kansas Wednesday night, but it wasn’t enough to push the Cyclones across the finish line.

Iowa State dropped its second-straight game in conference play, losing 60-58 despite the 25-point game from Crooks.

“I thought our kids, defensively – we were really good for the most part,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “We committed a couple of silly fouls late, but offensively, we couldn’t get in a rhythm. We missed too many layups. We didn’t get to the free throw line as much as we should… I’m proud of our kids’ effort.”

Every time Kansas pulled ahead in the game, which was never separated by more than five points until the final minute, the Cyclones turned to Crooks. She added eight rebounds to go along with her career high.

A late tie-up after Hannah Belanger went to the ground with less than 20 seconds to play stifled the team’s hopes. Belanger went on to bank in a three with just over a second left on the clock, but it wasn’t enough time for the miracle half-court attempt.

“A credit to Taiyanna Jackson,” Crooks said. “She’s a great player with a lot of experience. For us, it was probably the most physical game I’ve ever played in. We have to do a better job of adjusting to that.”

Addy Brown was the lone Cyclone in double figures aside from Crooks, scoring 10 points in the game. Jalynn Bristow added eight points along with a pair of 3-pointers.

“I think it’s just a really good learning moment, coming into an environment where it’s hard to play,” freshman Brown said. “We’ve got to come out and play a lot tougher of a game than we did tonight.”

The loss drops Iowa State to 12-6 on the season, with a 6-2 mark through eight games of conference play.

“You’ve got to make one more play on the road and we couldn’t make it tonight,” Fennelly said.

Iowa State will return to the court on Saturday to take on West Virginia (16-2, 5-2) in a return game, set to tip off at 1:00 p.m. on ESPN+.

Big 12 WBB Standings
Kansas State 8-0 (19-1)
Oklahoma 6-1 (12-6)
Iowa State 6-2 (12-6)
Texas 5-3 (18-3)
West Virginia 5-2 (16-2)
Baylor 4-3 (15-3)
Texas Tech 4-4 (15-6)
Oklahoma State 4-4 (11-8)
Kansas 3-5 (10-9)
BYU 2-5 (12-8)
Cincinnati 2-5 (10-8)
TCU 2-6 (15-4)
Houston 2-6 (11-8)
UCF 0-7 (9-8)