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Three Big Takeaways: Crooks’ heroics not enough to stifle the Jayhawks

Audi+Crooks+battles+down+low+against+Baylor+at+Hilton+Coliseum+on+Jan.+13%2C+2024.
Tyler Coe
Audi Crooks battles down low against Baylor at Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 13, 2024.

Following a long break of play, Iowa State traveled to Lawrence, Kansas, to take on the Jayhawks in a potential chance to sweep the season series against Kansas.

The Cyclones did not end up sweeping the series, as Iowa State dropped its second-straight conference game Wednesday night in a 60-58 loss to the Jayhawks.

First-quarter woes plagues Cyclones

Iowa State expected to come out firing on all cylinders even after not playing a conference game for a week.

That did not turn out to be the case for the Cyclones, as they had one of the worst shooting quarters they have had this season, going 3-for-16 from the field.

Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly even made a change to the starting lineup for this game, as he gave Emily Ryan the starting nod over Nyamer Diew, who had been struggling to shoot the ball recently.

Even while Iowa State held Kansas to one of its worst shooting quarters as well, it was not enough to help give the Cyclones the lead at the end of the quarter, which favored the Jayhawks by a score of 10-8.

Audi Crooks sets new career high

Crooks continued to show why she is one of the best freshmen in the country, as she found a way to break another career high, finishing with a team-high 25 points against the Jayhawks.

The former Big 12 Player of the Week did not start out the game as she would have liked, as Crooks finished the first half with only seven points on 3-for-8 shooting with just one free throw.

Coming out of halftime tied up at 23, Crooks stepped up her game in a big way, as she scored 18 second-half points on 7-for-15 shooting while going 4-for-6 from the free throw line.

This now marks Crooks’ seventh career game with at least 20 points scored. Three of those seven have come from Big 12 play.

Arianna Jackson and Cyclones’ defense locks down

While Kansas had three scorers that reached double-digit points in its win over Iowa State, one of the Jayhawks’ key scorers was absent in this game.

Kansas guard Holly Kersgieter was the second-highest-scoring Jayhawk this season with an average of 12.1 points per game. During the game, Kersgieter was completely shut down from nearly all opportunities to score.

She ended up finishing with zero points and only attempted one total shot that came with 3:44 left in the third quarter where she missed a contested layup attempt.

One of the key players who helped aid this effort to keep Kersgieter scoreless was Iowa State guard Arianna Jackson, who played exceptionally well when she was guarding the Kansas guard.

Jackson has shown her ability to be one of the better guard defenders on this young Cyclone team and proved it once again by locking down one of the Jayhawks’ best scorers Wednesday.

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