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Iowa State Advances in Big 12 Tournament

By PassThaBall, 03/11/24, 10:15PM PDT


Iowa State demonstrated a remarkable performance, riding their momentum to a convincing victory. As the No. 4 seed, the Cyclones took charge early and maintained their dominance throughout, ultimately overpowering top-seeded Oklahoma with a commanding 85-68 win in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals at the T-Mobile Center. Following a tense encounter with Baylor in the quarterfinals, Iowa State faced no such challenges against Oklahoma, marking a stark contrast from their previous matchup on Feb. 10, where the Sooners had prevailed in Ames.

In their earlier encounter, Iowa State had struggled both offensively and defensively, unable to find their rhythm. However, in this rematch, the Cyclones showcased a different demeanor, excelling on both ends of the floor. Freshman standout Audi Crooks led the charge with a stellar performance, tallying a game-high 25 points and nine rebounds. Additionally, Brown contributed 16 points, seven assists, and six rebounds, while point guard Emily Ryan nearly achieved a triple-double with 12 points and 10 assists.

Despite Oklahoma's average of 77.1 points per game, they struggled to find their shooting touch, managing only a 36% field goal rate (26-for-72). Their late surge in scoring came when Iowa State had already secured the victory. From the outset, Iowa State set the tone with Crooks igniting a 3-pointer, sparking a sequence of five consecutive successful attempts, culminating in a commanding 17-5 lead fueled by a 15-0 run.

The Cyclones continued their relentless pursuit in the second quarter, extending their lead to 12 points with consecutive layups from Crooks. A pivotal 3-pointer from Brown just before halftime further bolstered Iowa State's momentum, sending them into the locker room with a comfortable 38-24 advantage. Coach Fennelly's strategy paid dividends as every player contributed meaningfully, with all nine players seeing action and contributing to the scoring effort.