By NICK SNOW
STILLWATER — About the only thing that could stop Oklahoma State University sophomore Liz Donohoe was Lindsey Keller’s elbow.
Even after taking an elbow to the face, Donohoe matched her season-high with 24 points as No. 21 Oklahoma State upset No. 17 Kansas 76-59 Tuesday at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“We hadn’t had scoring in the first conference games from our wings and we have to get production out of those people,” Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said. “It’s no secret and it’s not meant to put pressure on them — Liz Donohoe has to play well, Toni Young has got to play well and Tiffany Bias has got to play well. Those three kids have got to deliever for us in a lot of different areas and I was glad to see our wings step up.”
Donohoe may have been the big story, scoring 17 points in the first half but it was Oklahoma State’s focus that turned what should have been an evenly matched game into a 17-point rout for Oklahoma State’s first win in conference.
“We let some leads get away and we just really stressed with them at each media timeout, ‘You’ve won this four minutes, now go win the next four minutes,’” Littell said. “I think it helped us to focus — play one play at a time, run one set at a time and have one defensive possession at a time.”
Littell wouldn’t say that the Cowgirls (12-2, 1-2 Big 12) won every four-minute stand, but they were pretty close. Kansas (11-3, 2-1 Big 12) made a couple of runs — trimming the Oklahoma State lead to 9 with 6:06 left in the second half, but that’s as close as the Jayhawks ever got.
“It’s a credit to Oklahoma State,” Kansas coach Bonnie Hendrickson said. “We said going into it that it was like two starving dogs after the last piece of meat on earth and they weren’t going to give it to us and they certainly didn’t. What they gave us was a punch in the mouth.”
And it was Donohoe who did most of the punching.
The sophomore’s 3-point play with 16:46 left in the first half sparked Oklahoma State’s offense and from there the Cowgirls ran like a well-oiled, unstoppable machine that had it’s way with the Kansas defense en route to a 37-29 halftime lead.
“We pushed it about as much as we could,” Oklahoma State junior point guard Tiffany Bias said. “They started getting back on us more because they were trying to stop us in transition. ... We really played together. They closed something down and something else was open. It was good for us to play all as one and we made some big plays when we needed to.”
Even on defense the Cowgirls looked more in sync, forcing 16 Kansas turnovers and forcing the Jayhawks to take ill-advised shots with the shot clock winding down. Oklahoma State held the Jayhawks to 0 of 9 from beyond the arc in the first half and didn’t allow a 3-pointer until Angel Goodrich connected with 11:56 left in the second half before Oklahoma State answered with a 10-2 run to put the game out of reach.
“We changed defenses a little bit — played some man and played some different zones,” Littell said. “I thought we did a better job of changing up defenses than we did in the early games. There’s going to be nights that those 3s are going to go in, but we’ve got to take easy opportunities on the box and we did a lot better job of that in the second half.”
Along with Donohoe, Brittney Martin tallied a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Young had 15 points and 8 rebounds. Bias also added 14 points and 4 assists.
Not only did the win over Kansas give Oklahoma State it’s first conference win of the season, but Littell is hoping that it builds confidence for the rest of the season.
“Our confidence wasn’t real good after the first two games, and I’m really happy about the way they’ve stayed together and supported each other,” Littell said. “I thought it was a total team win tonight... As the game went on, I thought we started growing in confidence. This is like any other sport. You have to be confident to excel. Hopefully, our team knows that if we hang together and execute, play defense and rebound the basketball, we’ve got a chance to play against a lot of people in this league.”
Nick Snow is a sports reporter for the Stillwater NewsPress