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Staff Picks: Iowa State vs. Stanford

Iowa+State+players+Emily+Ryan+%2811%29%2C+Hannah+Belanger+%2813%29+and+Isnelle+Natabou+%280%29+cover+Shaylee+Gonzales+of+Texas+down+the+court+during+the+Big+12+Tournament+final+on+March+12%2C+2024%2C+in+the+T-Mobile+Center.
Joseph Dicklin
Iowa State players Emily Ryan (11), Hannah Belanger (13) and Isnelle Natabou (0) cover Shaylee Gonzales of Texas down the court during the Big 12 Tournament final on March 12, 2024, in the T-Mobile Center.

Pavle Markovic, Sports Reporter

No. 2 Stanford 77, No. 7 Iowa State 69

While it may not have been the ideal way for Iowa State to win Friday night, it still got the job done against Maryland nonetheless and moved on to the Round of 32.

Led by center Audi Crooks’ 40-point domination, the Cyclones found a way to overcome a 20-point deficit and steal a win away from the Terrapins in grand fashion.

Now, the Cyclones face Stanford for a potential trip to the Sweet Sixteen. It will be a challenge for Iowa State to take down a Cardinal team that owns home-court advantage due to their 29-5 overall record.

Stanford’s success has relied upon its stifling defensive play and the high-flying offense led by forwards Cameron Brink and Kiki Iriafen, who both average over 17 points and 10 rebounds per game.

This game also brings upon a great coaching match, as the Cardinal have head coach Tara VanDerveer leading the way with her three NCAA Tournament championships. VanDerveer will undoubtedly go down as one of the best coaches to ever coach the sport, as she is continuing to lead Stanford to great heights.

In the end, I have the Cardinal pulling out the win, and have Iowa State leaving the NCAA Tournament, but not without some well-deserved praise for the great season this young team had.

Brett Twelmeyer, Sports Reporter

No. 2 Stanford 80, No. 7 Iowa State 67

The Round of 64 game for Iowa State was incredible. Not only did Crooks dominate and score 40 points, the Cyclones did the improbable and came from 20 points down to win and advance in what was the second-largest comeback in the history of the women’s tournament.

Now, the pressure ramps up as Stanford stands in the way of a Sweet Sixteen spot for Iowa State. This game will be much different than the last, and that starts with the height.

Crooks used her height advantage against Maryland to overpower the Terrapins all game long. Stanford, however, boasts two of the best post players in the country in Brink and Iriafen.

Both players shoot over 50% from the field and score north of 17 points per game. Crooks does too, but having two players with that type of efficiency is going to be tough to stop.

VanDerveer is also one of the greatest coaches of all time. In her 38 seasons at Stanford, she has made 36 NCAA Tournaments and won three National Championships.

I see this game playing out much like the Big 12 Championship did for the Cyclones. The Cardinal are outstanding on defense, much like Texas, and the offense can score from just about anywhere.

Stanford easily could have been a No. 1 seed. Funny enough, Texas, who beat Iowa State in the Big 12 title game, is the No. 1 seed in this region.

The final nail in the coffin is that this is basically a true home game for Stanford, since the game is at its home arena because top seeds in the women’s tournament host in the first two rounds. I would love to pick Iowa State in this one, but Stanford is a much better team.

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Joseph Dicklin, Author
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