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Three Big Takeaways: Cyclones snap road game losing streak with win over Houston

Elizabeth Lane
Audi Crooks during introductions at the Iowa State vs. Oklahoma game in Hilton Coliseum, Feb. 10, 2024.

With the team coming off of its latest crushing loss, Iowa State traveled to Houston on Wednesday night to take on Houston for the first time in program history, as the Cyclones looked to rebound from their latest blow.

Iowa State had been known to struggle away from Hilton Coliseum this season, but it did not prove to be the big factor Wednesday night, as the Cyclones ended a five-game road losing streak and took down the Cougars 76-64.

Iowa State dominates the boards

After getting out-rebounded 38-27 to No. 5 Texas in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Iowa State looked to reclaim its dominance on the glass in its matchup with the Cougars.

Before their game versus the Cougars, the Cyclones were second in the Big 12 in rebounds with an average of 41.3 a game. For Iowa State in its win over Houston on Wednesday, this number looked like child’s play, outrebounding the Cougars 53-28.

This ties the highest amount of rebounds the Cyclones have grabbed in a single game this season, as the last time Iowa State got 53 rebounds against a team was in its win over Troy back on Dec. 17.

A major reason the Cyclones accomplished this great feat came from forward Addy Brown, center Audi Crooks and guard Emily Ryan. Between these three players, they accounted for 36 of the 53 rebounds grabbed by the Cyclones as they each had at least 11.

Second-quarter surge proves stays true despite Cougars’ comeback attempt

Following a narrow one-point lead entering the second quarter, it had looked like Iowa State was going to have a close battle with Houston, even though it was not one of the better teams in the conference.

This did not end up being the case as the Cyclones exploded for one of the best all-around quarters they have had this season. Iowa State outscored Houston 26-6 in the second quarter which helped give the Cyclones their 21-point lead at halftime.

Even with Iowa State scoring 26 points on the Cougars, the more impressive stat came from the Cyclone defense as they held Houston to a horrid 1-for-15 shooting quarter (6.7%), which is the worst shooting quarter from an opponent that Iowa State has faced this season.

The Cougars’ only basket in the second quarter came with less than three minutes remaining in the first half, where guard Britney Onyeje converted after getting called for a foul.

Iowa State had not been known to be one of the better defensive units in the conference, especially after giving up 81 points to a No. 5 Texas team just a couple of days ago. Seeing this performance against one of the worst teams in the Big 12 just gave an added boost of confidence entering the final three-game stretch.

A sigh of relief for Iowa State

Perhaps the biggest part of the Cyclones’ 12-point win over Houston comes from knowing that the road curse for Iowa State has finally ended.

The Cyclones broke a five-game road losing streak with a win against the Cougars that had lasted since Iowa State’s loss to Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas, on Jan. 17.

This win came at a big time for the young Cyclones, as two players reached double-doubles in Crooks and Brown as the freshman duo continued to shine in their inaugural season.

For Crooks, she finished the game leading the team in points (25) while grabbing 12 rebounds that gave her a sixth double-double of the season.

For Brown, she has found more success reaching the double-double mark as she finished Wednesday’s game getting her eighth double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds.

Guard Hannah Belanger was third in scoring for Iowa State as she finished with 11 points, but also ended up reaching 350 career 3-pointers with a corner shot with 7:28 left in the game.

As the Cyclones celebrate this win, they will be happy to know that their road woes have concluded as Iowa State prepares to end the regular season on the right track.

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