The Cyclones faced one of their biggest challenges of the year so far as number four ranked Baylor traveled to Ames for one of the best games of the year.
The first quarter started well with the Cyclones jumping out to a 10-5 lead behind buckets from four different scorers; Arianna Jackson, Audi Crooks, Hannah Belanger, and Addy Brown. Baylor responded and went on a 19-1 run to take a 24-11 lead over the Twister Sisters into the first break. The one point for Iowa State on the Baylor run came from a Crooks free throw.
The second quarter featured the Cyclones improving from the first quarter on both ends of the court, but more importantly, it was the Audi Crooks show. Crooks shot 5-6 from the floor and grabbed 5 rebounds in the second quarter, good for 12 points and a major reason why the Clones won the quarter 18-13, cutting the half time deficit to 8. Jackson, Brown, and Bristow each had a bucket to round out the Cyclones scoring on the quarter.
The best offensive quarter for the Cyclones came in the third. Freshman Kelsey Joens set the tone for the quarter hitting a three on the first offensive possession of the quarter. Points came from five different scorers with Emily Ryan leading the way with 8, followed by Belanger with 6, Crooks with 4, Joens with 3, and Brown with 2. The success of the quarter came from the 55% field goal percentage and 60% 3-point percentage. The Cyclones outscored the Bears 23-17 to cut the lead to 2 going into the final quarter.
Hilton Magic came alive in the fourth, and so did the Cyclone defense. Baylor was held to just 9 points in the final quarter, and only connected on one of their final eight field goal attempts, leaving the door open for the Clones to complete back to back comebacks. The Cyclones lineup was Belanger, Ryan, Crooks, Joens, and Brown for all but 3 minutes of the quarter in which Crooks was relieved by Natabou. Down 1 with 30 seconds left the Clones fed Crooks who had been having a phenomenal day. She scored a huge bucket and took the lead with 24 seconds left, the Cyclones would never lose that lead, outscoring the Bears 14-9 in the quarter, good for a 66-63 victory over number 4 in the country.
Are you not entertained?!?!— Cyclone Basketball (@CycloneWBB) January 13, 2024
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Back to back massive wins for the Clones and they suddenly sit atop the conference at 5-0. The future is bright and this season is getting real fun, the next test is in Lubbock against Texas Tech at 6:00 on Wednesday the 17th. Roll Clones!