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Three Big Takeaways: Cyclones in it to the end, fall short to No. 24 West Virginia

Audi+Crooks+shoots+a+jumper+in+the+paint+against+Baylor+at+Hilton+Coliseum+on+Jan.+13%2C+2024.
Tyler Coe
Audi Crooks shoots a jumper in the paint against Baylor at Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 13, 2024.

For the third straight time, the Iowa State women’s basketball team played on the road, this time in a rematch against No. 24 West Virginia. Iowa State won the first game via an incredible comeback, but Saturday’s game belonged to the Mountaineers, 84-78.

With another change in the starting lineup, the Cyclones tried something different to get off their losing streak. In the end, they could not keep up with West Virginia to the final buzzer.

Here are the three biggest takeaways from Iowa State’s loss to West Virginia:

Another big game for Crooks

Establishing the post game has been a big part of the Iowa State offense, and that mainly comes from freshman Audi Crooks. This game was no different as she led scoring and rebounding.

Crooks scored 25 points, tying her previous high from a game ago against Kansas. She added 16 rebounds to her big day to get her fourth double-double of the season.

Shooting, Crooks went 8-for-15 from the floor and went 9-for-11 from the free throw line. Free throws have been a struggle at times for the Cyclones, but not Saturday, as they shot 19-for-23 as a team.

As a team, Iowa State was 48% from the field and 32% from three. Not only that, 28 of the Cyclones’ 52 shots were beyond the perimeter.

Jalynn Bristow followed Crooks in scoring with 12, shooting 5-for-10 and had five rebounds. Bristow made her first start of the season, showing that the Cyclones are willing to try different lineups as a result of the recent losses.

Turnover troubles return

Once again, the turnover bug bit the Cyclones. Averaging over 16 per game, Iowa State had its most turnovers in a game with 24 against West Virginia.

It was going to be a challenge, considering the Mountaineers have the top three defenders when it comes to forcing steals and turnovers.

Breaking the press was a key issue Iowa State faced. West Virginia has always been known for its tough full-court press and today was no different, forcing the Cyclones to make mistakes when bringing the ball up the court.

Defense unable to slow West Virginia stars

West Virginia has scored effectively against its past three opponents before playing Iowa State, with multiple double-digit scorers in each game.

Against the Cyclones, four Mountaineers had 13 or more points, led by guard Ja’Naiya Quinerly with 31. Nearly every time the Iowa State offense was able to generate points, West Virginia had an answer.

Containing Quinerly was going to be key in this game and Iowa State was unable to shut her down at all. Quinerly played all 40 minutes and was the only player to do so across both teams.

Late in the game, Iowa State senior Nyamer Diew and Quinerly traded blows. Diew scored the final six points for Iowa State and Quinerly scored the final 11 points to seal it for West Virginia.

The loss is the third in a row for Iowa State, all coming on the road. Iowa State is now 6-3 in the Big 12 and 12-7 overall.

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