ISU stuns No. 4 Bayor

AMES (AP) — Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly walked off the court with his arms raised.

It wasn’t so much a salute to his team, which just got done knocking off a Top 25 opponent for the second time in four days, as much as a tribute to the 9,240 fans who trekked to Hilton Coliseum in the wake of a snowstorm and a 40-below-zero wind chill.

Audi Crooks scored 23 points, Hannah Belanger added 15, and their clutch scores in the final 30 seconds lifted the unranked Cyclones over No. 4 Baylor 66-63 on Saturday.

Fennelly said there was some discussion about postponing the game because fans traveling to Ames faced difficult road conditions and high winds. They showed up as usual, though.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt the most important people in the building today were the fans,” Fennelly said. “I told the players before the game, No. 1, make sure the people walked out of here saying it was worth coming, and No. 2, that the people who couldn’t make it say, ‘Dang, I wish I could’ve been there for that one.’ I think we did both.”

Hannah Belanger, who scored 15 points, said, “I think we put on a show, yeah.”

The Cyclones (12-4, 5-0 Big 12), who were picked sixth in the conference preseason coaches’ poll, came back from 19 points down to beat No. 24 West Virginia 74-64 on Wednesday.

They beat their highest-ranked opponent since knocking off a second-ranked Baylor in 2020. It also was the first time Iowa State has had back-to-back ranked wins since 2009-2010. The victory was ISU’s ninth top-five win in program history.

“It means a lot for us as a team,” Crooks said. “Just coming into this year, everybody being uncertain as to what we were going to do and whether we’ll be able to produce. … To do that twice in some pretty big games this week is going to give us a foundation to keep building off of.”

Iowa State trailed for 27 minutes but shut down Baylor in the fourth quarter. The Cyclones trailed by two entering the final period but outscored the Bears 14-9 in the fourth.

Baylor (14-2, 3-2) has lost two straight road games against unranked opponents. The Bears lost 87-66 at Kansas on Wednesday.

“We wanted to be better than we were against Kansas,” coach Nicki Collen said. “I thought in some areas we were. At times we were poised; sometimes we weren’t.”

Crooks scored in the paint to put the Cyclones ahead with 24 seconds left, but she missed a 3-point opportunity and the score was 64-63. After a miss by Yaya Felder, Baylor put Belanger on the line for Iowa State. She made both for a three-point lead with 10 seconds left and a 3-point try by Baylor’s Sarah Andrews was off the mark as time expired.

Crooks and Belanger combined to make 15 of 24 shots for the Cyclones. Addy Brown had nine points, 11 rebounds and five assists.

Dre’una Edwards had 19 points and seven rebounds for Baylor. Jada Walker had 14 points and eight rebounds, and Darianna Littlepage-Bug added eight points and eight rebounds.

“All I’m sad about right now is we don’t have a chance to play them again now that we don’t have a balanced schedule,” Collen said. “We’ve had some epic battles since I got to Baylor.”


Baylor: That 14-0 start is a distant memory. The Bears finished the first quarter on a 19-1 run but folded for a second straight game, going 3 of 15 overall and 1 of 9 on 3s in the fourth quarter.

Iowa State: The Cyclones have shown they are capable of being a factor in the Big 12 race despite their youth.


Baylor: Hosts UCF on Jan. 20.

Iowa State: Visits Texas Tech on Wednesday.