The Cyclones have five of the best freshmen around – on and off the floor. These women are having fun. They love playing the game. They get along. There doesn’t seem to be any trace of jealousy.

They could be Fennelly’s dream team, provided they all stay together.

“It’s fun to watch them come to work every day and see how much they want to improve and how much they want to be pushed,” said Emily Ryan, the team’s driving force, leader and key owner .

Ryan said before Senior Day that she would be there for one more season. Her act deserves a place in the rafters of the Hilton Coliseum one day; That’s how good and valuable she was to the program. And she will be there next season to lead a talented squad.

“Things don’t always go smoothly for the team and for individuals, but no matter how the day went before, they come the next day with the desire to get better, with the same attitude every day, regardless of whether they have a good one Have had a bad day or not,” she said.

“It’s an honor for them and the way they work and show up every day, and then it’s an honor for everyone else around them.”

Speaking of showing up and working every day, that’s one of Audi Crooks’ many good qualities. The freshman from Algona played doubles most of the night, sometimes triples, so much so that I wonder how she keeps her cool.

The post player scored six of Iowa State’s first eight points of the second half. Texas urged. Crooks bounced back with 25 points and nine rebounds.

One day she will be the MVP of the Big 12. Maybe even a few times. How long do you think it will be before she drives around Ames in a brand new Audi?

“This week was an absolute blast,” Ryan said after Tuesday’s game. “To do it with these guys and then with the crowd behind us like we had — it’s pretty special. “It’s moments like this that you play for and why you come to Iowa State. I’m just lucky I was able to be a part of it and experience it with these guys.”

Fennelly said it best as Texas lay on the floor celebrating a trophy the Cyclones won last season.

“They accomplished a lot of things that few people thought they could do,” he said of Iowa State’s freshmen. “Our freshmen are phenomenal people.”