Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

November 23, 2013

No. 20 Cowgirls trounce visiting Trojans

STILLWATER — Brittney Martin didn’t have a perfect game. There were a couple of shots she’d like to have back and maybe a couple more rebounds she could have got.

But it’s hard to complain when you finish with a career-high 22 points and beat a team that’s expected to finish in the top half of the Pac-12 by 31 points.

That’s what the Cowgirls did Friday in Gallagher-Iba Arena with an 82-51 win over Southern California — a game that most people thought would be a lot closer than the final outcome.

“I’m surprised, but that can happen if you start a game with the tenacity that we did,” Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said. “I thought we kind of captured their heart in the first five minutes of the game. ... It was as good as we played all year, but the first half was pretty good.”

Oklahoma State (5-0) opened the game with a 25-6 run over the first nine minutes of the game and never looked back, dominating the boards and looking very much like the top 25 team most people envisioned at the beginning of the season.

“We’ve been working on being really disciplined,” Oklahoma State senior guard Tiffany Bias said. “We focused and determined to come out on a good start. We’ve been struggling with that. (Friday) we really stepped it up and that’s what happened.”

But Martin was the real story on this night, finishing with a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds, along with a team-high six assists.

From her spin move taken directly from Michael Jordan’s playbook to her midrange jumper, everything was working for the Oklahoma State sophomore.

“My wife calls it being a gamer, but I absolutely hate that term,” Littell said. “But she probably is. She realizes when you have big games and she stepped up. She’s been putting extra time in on her shot and she’s a really good intermediate jump shooter, and we created a lot of shots for her on that.

“She’s a great mid-range player. She can create that. She keeps the ball very high. I don’t see many girls that shoot the ball that high and have a release point that high. Somebody could be right on her and she just looks them in the eye and raises up and it’s off before you know it.”

While Martin was out to make a statement from the start, it was Liz Donohoe who actually got the Cowgirls going, knocking down back-to-back 3-pointers to give Oklahoma State an 18-4 advantage.

“Liz had a very efficient night,” Littell said. “She’s worked on her passing, as well. When you score 15 and take six shots, that’s a really good night.”

Oklahoma State continued to wreak havoc on USC (3-1), outrebounding the Trojans 13-3 at one point early in the first half. That only added fuel to an already burning fire as Oklahoma State poured it on with a 12-0 run over the span of six minutes before Courtney Jaco’s 3-pointer snapped that streak.

“I got in a lot of trouble because I don’t block out,” Martin said. “I never have in my whole life until I really noticed that I need to. We’ve been working in practice a lot, everybody just blocking out and doing certain drills to get us to block out. We’ve just been working on it strictly in practice so that we could take it into the games.”

Even after USC trimmed the lead to 19 by halftime on Jaco’s second 3-pointer, Oklahoma State didn’t stop there as Roshunda Johnson decided to share the wealth, finding Bias for a 3-pointer from the wing that helped the Cowgirls go on a 9-0 run.

Southern California did have a little more success late in the game, with the Cowgirls content with a 30-plus point win in its first true test of the season.

But the road won’t get much easier for the Cowgirls from here. Along with facing Massachusetts-Lowell Tuesday the Cowgirls also have a date with North Texas coming up before the All-College Classic and Puerto Rico Classic.

“No matter who it is, we just go out and have the same mentality,” Martin said. “(We think) they’re the best on the earth so we just have to go out there and play like we’re supposed to play.”

Along with Martin Donohoe finished with 15 points and six rebounds, while Kendra Suttles had arguably the quietest double-double of the year with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Bias also finished with 14 points and four assists.

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