Women's Basketball

WBB: Crooks sets new career high, helps Cyclones pull away and break 3-game losing streak

Iowa State Cyclones center Audi Crooks (55) takes a shot over Oklahoma State Cowgirls forward Praise Egharevba (24) during the first quarter in the Big-12 conference matchup at Hilton Coliseum on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024, in Ames, Iowa. © Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune / USA TODAY NETWORK

AMES – At the end of her team’s 78-67 win over Oklahoma State at Hilton Coliseum, Audi Crooks sat down to record postgame when she saw her numbers on the stat sheet.

For the third-straight game, Crooks recorded a career-high, scoring 29 points in the game.

“It’s pretty cool,” Crooks said after the game. “But, I’m just happy to contribute in any way that I can, whether that be scoring, distributing the ball – whatever it takes to get a Cyclone win.”

Coach Bill Fennelly’s team started the game out on a 12-2 run, but still faced a five-point deficit during the third quarter.

The Cyclones went on a 10-0 run immediately after, initiated by one of Crooks’ 14 made shots from the field.

When in need of a score, the Cyclones again turned to Crooks, which is turning into a routine strategy, rather than a string of unlikely results.

“Whatever I can do to help us out,” Crooks said. “We are doing a really good job of getting the ball inside early. We’re trying to establish that post presence early and I take pride in doing that, specifically so they start double-teaming and triple-teaming me.”

Addy Brown also returned to double figures, for the second time in the last five games, scoring 14 points and recording eight rebounds.

The point guards flourished, as well. Arianna Jackson’s four 3-pointers was integral in the Cyclones building on their late lead, which never dipped below the seven-point mark following the 10-0 run. Emily Ryan finished near a triple-double, netting nine points, nine rebounds and a season-high 14 assists.

The win gives Iowa State a 7-3 record in Big 12 play, meaning the team remains in a double-bye spot for the Big 12 Tournament with eight games remaining in conference play.

When asked if Wednesday’s game was a must-win, Fennelly said that he likes to tell his teams that their season can entirely change directions based on the results

“I usually pick five games that I say are going to swing your season,” Fennelly said. “This is the second one of the five – that maybe tells you how important I thought it was. And I’m not going to tell you the other ones.”

Iowa State will return to the court Saturday to face off with UCF on the road at 11 a.m. Saturday on ESPN+.

Big 12 WBB Standings
As of games played January 31, 2024
Kansas State 9-1 (20-2)
Oklahoma 8-1 (14-6)
West Virginia 7-2 (18-2)
Iowa State 7-3 (13-7)
Texas 6-3 (19-3)
Baylor 5-3 (16-3)
Texas Tech 5-4 (16-6)
Kansas 4-6 (11-10)
Oklahoma State 4-6 (11-10)
Houston 3-7 (12-9)
BYU 2-7 (12-10)
TCU 2-7 (15-5)
Cincinnati 2-7 (10-10)
UCF 1-8 (10-9)