From Staff reports
STILLWATER — At the end of the day, it was nothing more than how Randy Gipson described it.
“It was a great practice for us and a great opportunity for our team to come here and play,” said Northeastern State’s women’s basketball coach.
The opportunity ultimately resulted in a 84-47 loss to Division I’s No. 21 team, Oklahoma State, on Monday night. The “here” was Gallagher-Iba Arena, a landmark that needs no introduction amid the college basketball landscape.
For NSU, which went 1-1 during the exhibition portion of its schedule, it was a matter of not being able to keep up in the paint. The Cowgirls outscored the RiverHawks 44-16 within close range of the basket.
The RiverHawks also turned the ball over 31 times, resulting in 35 points for the Cowgirls on the other end.
Oklahoma State also conquered NSU in second-chance points (25-2) and fast-break points (21-2).
“I thought Oklahoma State played hard, and they obviously have a love of physical ability and size in the post that we don’t see every night,” Gipson said. “It makes you really understand how hard you have to execute the game
Playing roughly 30 minutes from her hometown of Cushing, Che’Ron Lewis led NSU with 14 points on three of seven shooting from the field. Lewis also drained all eight of her free-throw attempts.
Brittany Atkins was one of three Oklahoma State players in double figures. The redshirt freshman guard from Kansas City, Mo., had a team-high 12 points, while Tiffany Bias and Kendra Suttles chipped in with 11 apiece and LaShawn Jones had 10.
Liz Donohue didn’t score in double figures for the Cowgirls — she had eight points — but she led a dominating rebounding effort for OSU. Donohue had 13 rebounds as the Cowgirls out-rebounded NSU 53-33.
Both halves were almost mirror images of one another. OSU outscored NSU 42-22 in the first half and 42-25 in the final 20 minutes.
“I’m hopeful this game will allow us to move forward and understand a little bit more how we have to play,” Gipson said. “We’ve got five of the nine people that we suited up have never played a game at this kind of level. We’ll gain experience from this, but I thought our team competed and played hard.”
Next up for NSU is the beginning of the regular season in Fort Smith, Ark., The RiverHawks will take on West Texas A&M at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.