Audi Crocs' historic night leads Iowa State to a March Madness victory

Audi Crocs' historic night leads Iowa State to a March Madness victory

STANFORD, Calif. – The season has been a rollercoaster for the Iowa State women's basketball team. The Cyclones, who entered the 2023-24 campaign with a lot of potential but not a lot of experience, weren't even expected to make the NCAA Tournament this season.

Seventh-seeded Iowa State had another stunning performance on Friday night, coming back from a 20-point deficit and defeating Maryland 93-86 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Maples Pavilion. It was the second-biggest comeback in NCAA women's basketball tournament history.

Audie Crooks matched his career high with 40 points for the Cyclones, who advanced to Sunday's second-round game.

Crooks, who set the Iowa State NCAA Tournament single-game record for field goals (18), recorded the fourth 40-point game in Iowa State history. She came just short of Tonya Burns' single-game record of 42 points.

more: Iowa State women's basketball completed the second-biggest comeback in NCAA Tournament history

Iowa State needed almost every one of those points as the Cyclones erased a huge halftime deficit to eliminate perennial powerhouse program Maryland. Iowa State trailed most of the first half and was in trouble from the start.

Maryland put together a near-perfect first quarter that ended with the Terrapins matching a season-high for points in a quarter (33) and building a 13-point lead. The Terrapins poured it from there. They went on a 10-0 run in the second quarter and took a 48-29 lead on a layup by Jakia Brown-Turner.

Maryland's Allie Kubiak, who entered the game averaging just 8.4 points per game, surpassed that by halftime. Kubiak scored 19 points in the first two quarters on 6-of-6 shooting from the field, including 5-of-5 from 3-point range to help Maryland take a 52-36 lead into halftime. Maryland's largest lead was 50-30 with about 90 seconds left in the first half.

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But Iowa was far from finished.

The Hurricanes, who had a double-digit deficit during the regular season, were at it again on Friday. It started with a 10-0 run in the third quarter to tie the score at 59 points.

Iowa briefly took a 62-61 lead on a score and one from Crooks. Maryland and Iowa State were deadlocked in a 66-66 tie heading into the fourth quarter.

Crooks scored four points in a 7-0 run that gave Iowa State a 78-72 lead. Back-to-back baskets by the Crocs pushed the lead to 89-82.

The scammers got plenty of other help. Emily Ryan scored 18 points and added 14 assists for the Hurricanes. Jones finished with 12 points.

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