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Cyclones unable to pull away late, No. 4 Iowa closes out hard-fought win

Audi+Crooks+looking+for+a+pass+during+the+Iowa+State+vs.+Iowa+match%2C+Hilton+Coliseum%2C+Dec.+6%2C+2023.
Matteo Bender
Audi Crooks looking for a pass during the Iowa State vs. Iowa match, Hilton Coliseum, Dec. 6, 2023.

AMES — Iowa State hosted the No. 4 Iowa Hawkeyes on Wednesday night in its annual Cy-Hawk matchup. The Hawkeyes, led by their superstar guard Caitlin Clark, pulled out a hard-fought 67-58 win over the Cyclones that came down to the final minutes of the game.

In a game that was expected to be a blowout, Iowa State did not let No. 4 Iowa leave Ames with an easy win, as a great defensive battle on both ends forced the game to end up closer than expected.

The game underwent 12 lead changes between the two teams, along with nine different times that the score was tied, which showed the immense potential that the young Iowa State group has against teams like Iowa.

Clark reached a career milestone in Iowa’s win, as she officially eclipsed 3,000 career points. She ended up finishing this game with 35 points, nine rebounds and five assists.

She has established herself as one of the best women’s college basketball players in the nation, and this milestone only helps her case for further success down the road.

It was a tough task for Iowa State to defend Clark throughout the game, as she found success in rolling through ball screens and hitting 3-point shots to set herself up for a big game.

However, the Cyclones gave Clark fits at times, and she missed the majority of the shot attempts she took. Clark shot 12-for-31 from the field and 6-for-16 from 3-point range, as Iowa State found success in making her take tough shots at times.

Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly mainly used guard Arianna Jackson to cover Clark in the game and ended up finding some success with this matchup.

“I thought AJ [Jackson] was really good. I think overall we did what we had to do to keep ourselves in the game, and our kids did a really good job embracing the challenge,” Fennelly said.

Center Audi Crooks led the team in scoring with 15 points while also collecting 10 rebounds, making it her first-ever double-double as a collegiate player. Crooks also made a 3-pointer in the second quarter, making it her first 3-point make in her collegiate career.

Crooks knew that a lot of people were doubting Iowa State could pull off a major upset, and although the Cyclones did not do that, Crooks believes they proved those people wrong by keeping it as competitive as it was.

“Coming into this, I think a lot of people thought we were going to roll over and die in this game, but I think we showed a lot of tenacity and fight that shows when we click and are cohesive, we are a phenomenal basketball team,” Crooks said.

Forward Addy Brown also had a strong performance in the Cyclones’ loss to the Hawkeyes, as she put up her second double-double of the season, making it back-to-back games with a double-double.

Brown finished the game with 14 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, two steals and a blocked shot, as she has become one of the main contributors to this young squad.

She credited the success that the team had today to the sold-out crowd at Hilton, as she felt the Hilton Magic she hoped to feel when first committing here.

“It was super special,” Brown said. “I couldn’t even hear my thoughts at times because that’s how loud it was. The atmosphere was great, and it was one of the many reasons we chose to come to Iowa State.”

While Iowa State may not have pulled off the massive upset, the Cyclones will not hang their heads on this loss. This young, inexperienced Cyclone team went toe-to-toe with one of the top teams in the nation.

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