The Oklahoma State Cowgirls are still out to prove people wrong while proving themselves right. This team is a good basketball team. And that this team is way more than the early-season story that make the Cowgirls a feel-good team to watch.
“These girls are kind of on a mission right now,” OSU coach Jim Littell said after the game. “They want to prove something and they’ve just got some things in the back of their mind that they’re very very determined right now.”
On Sunday in Stillwater, the Pokes hosted their fourth game of the WNIT tournament and came away with their fourth win and are now one of the final four teams standing. The Cowgirls picked up a 78-70 win over former conference foe, Colorado, holding on for the wire-to-wire victory to nab their 11th 20-win season in program history. The Buffs posted a furious second half comeback to tie the game at 61 apiece based on the unexpectedly hot outside shooting touch of CU. The Buffs shot from long range 32 times in the game, connecting on 15 of those attempts. Before today, Colorado was averaging 4.9 3-pointers a game, on 28.6 percent shooting, so Sunday’s effectiveness from beyond the arc was quite a wrinkle from the usual.
The bread and butter for the Buffs this season, and for the past three seasons really, has been the play of guard Chucky Jeffery. Today was no different, with Jeffery’s impressive triple-double of 12 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists going nearly unnoticed.
For the Pokes, the post-season’s newest “Big Three” rose again, with Tiffany Bias’ game of 24 points, six assists and three steals leading the way. Big 12 Freshman of the Year continued to look unfreshman-like with 20 points and 13 boards for her third-consecutive postseason double-double. Junior Toni Young added 17 points, nine rebounds and four blocks in the win to keep her statistical averages climbing yet again.
The Cowgirls had one of the biggest points in the paint advantages of the season, outmuscling the Buffs 44-14 down low. This marks just the third time this season OSU has broken the 40-point mark with the previous two occasions coming in non-conference play.
“We started going to that probably eight to nine games ago – let’s create more balance and let’s make sure that we’ve got an inside-outside game,” Littell said. “Probably should have gone to that a long time ago. We know that there’s got to be a good balance.”
Today’s outside game, or at least their way outside game, didn’t appear until the contest was tied at 61 apiece and Kendra Suttles sunk the first Cowgirl three of the night. That triple was followed by two more by Donohoe in the next three minutes to give OSU a 72-64 advantage with 3:29 to play. Despite the late tie, the Cowgirls were confident that this game was theirs to win from the git-go.
“I knew that we were going to pull it out in the end,” Bias said. “I think it just shows how much passion we have for this game, how much determination we have. We’re still playing and we’re still fighting. And even though we didn’t get to the big dance this is still big for us too. We’ve accomplished a lot this year.
OSU plays the San Diego Toreros on Wednesday at 7 p.m. for the opportunity to advance to the WNIT final game.