Cyclone women reach Big 12 finals with rout of top-seeded OU

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Audi Crooks had 25 points, Addy Brown added 16 and fourth-seeded Iowa State romped to an 85-68 victory over top-seeded and No. 19 Oklahoma on Monday, giving the Cyclones a chance to defend their women’s Big 12 Tournament title.

Emily Ryan added 12 points and 10 assists for the Cyclones (20-10), who beat the Sooners in last year’s semifinals before topping Texas for the title. Iowa State will now get a rematch Tuesday night against the No. 6 Longhorns, who beat Kansas State in their semifinal later in the day.

Payton Verhulst had 23 points for the Sooners (22-9), who will head to the SEC next season having lost their last seven Big 12 semifinals. Sahara Williams added 16 points and league co-player of the year Skylar Vann finished with 12.

Iowa State overcame 21 turnovers by shooting 12 of 23 from the 3-point arc.

The Cyclones set the tone with Crooks in the paint early on — she had 11 points in the first half — and that opened things up from the perimeter, where they drilled seven of those 3-pointers in the first half while building a 38-24 advantage.

It was the biggest halftime deficit cold-shooting Oklahoma had faced all season.

But unlike earlier this season, when the Sooners raced from the locker room and used a big second-half to win easily in Ames, Iowa, the Cyclones kept momentum on their side. They outscored Big 12 coach of the year Jennie Baranczyk’s team 14-3 to start the second half, pushing their lead to 62-43 by the time the fourth quarter rolled around.

In fact, Iowa State’s only misstep came when Ryan missed a free throw, snapping her streak of 34 consecutive makes.

The Cyclones rolled from there into the championship game against the Longhorns.