The Twister Sisters take on their next tough task of the non-conference schedule as they take on the Vanderbilt Commodores in Las Vegas, Nevada. Iowa State got a nice bounce back win over Southern earlier this week after dropping one to Drake, and they’ll look to build on that as they take on their first power 5 conference opponent: 5-0 Vanderbilt.
The Cyclones have gotten major contributions from their freshman class, which was expected given what they lost and who they brought in. What I don’t think was expected was how quickly Audi Crooks would be able to take over games on the offensive side of the ball. Crooks leads the Cyclones both in points per game at 15.7 and field goal percentage at 70.4%. All while being 7th on the team in minutes at just 53 so far this season. Another freshman standout to this point has been Addy Brown. The Derby, Kansas freshman has been stuffing the stat sheets all year, averaging 12.3 points (2nd on the team), 6.7 rebounds (1st on the team), and 4.7 assists (1st on the team) per game. This freshman duo has been wildly impressive through the first three games of the season, and I expect them to continue to play this well as the season goes on.
As for Vanderbilt, they come into the game undefeated on the season, but they’ve had their battles. A trio of close wins over UT Martin (70-68), Fairfield (73-70), and Western Kentucky (77-74) sit between dominant wins over Kennesaw State (98-51) and Alabama State (88-42) as they come into Vegas on a high.
Led by junior forward Sacha Washington, the Commodores bring in the 44th highest scoring offense at 81.2 points per game. Sacha leads them in both points and rebounds per game, coming in at 18.8 points and 10 rebounds, including a 20-point, 17-rebound game against Fairfield. The second head of the Two-Headed Giant that Vanderbilt brings is senior guard Jordyn Cambridge. Jordyn has increased her points, rebounds, assists, and steals all four years of play with Vanderbilt. The 3-year starter is a great facilitator, approaching 6 assists per game, and is also a menace on the defensive end, sitting at 4.4 steals per game. That’ll be something to watch as Iowa State’s inexperienced guards look to continue to improve.
This shapes up to be a great matchup for the Cyclones early in the year. They’ve already had one test in Drake and came up short. Can they put the 4-point quarter against the Bulldogs behind them, or will the inexperience prove to be too much to overcome for the second time this year?
The game tips off at 3:30 p.m. and will be streamed on ESPN+