Iowa State comes in needing a home game like a human being needs water. Losing 3 out of 4 (all on the road), the Cyclones look to step up in a big way at home taking on the 24th ranked Sooners.
Iowa State sits at 5th place in the Big 12 despite the shaky month and has a great opportunity today to take down the Sooners, currently sitting atop the conference at 10-1 in Big 12 play. Their lone loss came at the hands of Kansas State back in mid-January, so the Sooners are riding high heading into Hilton Coliseum. Led by senior forward Skylar Vann, the Sooners average just a hair over 76 points per game. Vann tops their roster in scoring at 15.9 per game, but she’s sitting well above that over her last five games, scoring at least 17 in all of them and at least 21 in three of them. She’s not exactly known for her 3-point shooting, but she can step out and make them, shooting just over 31% from deep. Speaking of 3-point shooters, Iowa State is more than familiar with the Sooners’ leader behind the arc. Senior Aubrey Joens played two years at Iowa State before transferring down to Norman where she now leads the team in 3-point shooting at 34.4%. She does this while coming off the bench, so the Cyclones will have to be ready when she checks in. The 3-ball really gets unlocked for this Sooners team when they’re able to spread the floor a bit more, and Aubrey allows that to happen.
As for Iowa State, I suspect we’ll be seeing more of the same. Feed Audi Crooks down low, run the offense through Emily Ryan and Addy Brown, and let the shooters (Arianna Jackson, Hannah Belanger, and Kelsey Joens) shoot from the perimeter. Look for the Cyclones to get that inside out passing solidified in this one. There’s no real height advantage for either team in the paint, so look for Audi Crooks to set up shop on the block. If and when Oklahoma sends the double team, she’ll need to be able to either fight through it for the bucket, or find the shooter on the outside that gets left open. It’s been shaky at times, especially during this rough stretch, but the Cyclones have the skillset to do it, so when they’re on, they can play with anyone in the country.
Should be a fun one as we take on the Sooners for the final time (pending any postseason matchups) before they head off to the SEC next year. The Cyclones have a chance to pull a real upset and shake up the Big 12 standings, it’ll be a matter of execution at home.
The game tips off at 6:00pm from Hilton Coliseum and will be broadcast on ESPN+.