By NICK SNOW
STILLWATER — Rarely does the Oklahoma State women’s basketball team have a size advantage over its opponents — preferring to use its speed to wear down its Big 12 foes.
But on a night where Oklahoma State had a distinct size advantage, it was the smallest player on the court that had the biggest impact for the Cowgirls in their 76-59 win over Texas Christian Tuesday in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“I thought Tiffany (Bias) was really good tonight,” Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said. “... We asked her to do what she did in the Iowa State game — just really lock somebody down. (Zahna) Medley has been the freshman of the week quite a few times. She’s a nice player and nice talent. Besides Tiff’s stat line, I thought she was exceptional on the defensive end of the floor.”
Bias finished with a 19 points, eight assists and five steals, but it was her lock down defense on Medley — who had been averaging 13.4 points for the Horned Frogs — that helped the Cowgirls (16-5, 5-5 in Big 12) turn what could have been a much closer game into a blowout.
“I knew that she’s a freshman point guard that’s been playing well,” Bias said. “You have to slow her down at the beginning, you don’t want her to get on a run. I just scouted her and played her how she needs to play.”
It wasn’t always easy for the Cowgirls. Oklahoma State seemingly didn’t have an answer for TCU’s perimeter attack — led by Natalie Ventress, who tallied a game-high 24 points while making 6 of 8 3-pointers.
“We gave up some early 3s that I didn’t like, but then we got into a stretch for about 10 minutes where I didn’t think they got a good look,” Littell said. “We rebounded off of it and played some pretty good defense. We gave up quite a few points in the second half, but that’s a credit to them. They hit some shots and made some plays.”
Ventress’ back-to-back 3-pointers put the Horned Frogs (7-14, 0-10 in Big 12) up 6-0 less than a minute into the game.
That’s when Bias and Oklahoma State took over. The Cowgirls answered with a 30-4 run during a 10 minute span, capped off by Bias’ third 3-pointer of the first half to give Oklahoma State a 30-10 lead with 8:17 left in the first half.
“TCU came out hot and we just had to respond,” Bias said. “We can’t really get rattled about (falling behind) 6-0. We just responded and hit shots down the road.”
Even as Ventress continued to pour it in from beyond the arc, Oklahoma State’s size proved to be a difficult matchup for TCU on both ends of the floor. By halftime, six of TCU’s eight baskets came from beyond the arc as Oklahoma State held the Horned frogs to 27.6 percent from the field en route to a 44-24 halftime lead.
“This was our fourth game in nine days — three out of four on the road,” TCU coach Jeff Mittie said. “We just didn’t seem to have the legs defensively. We shot it fine — we shot it OK from 3 — so that didn’t impact that area. But we didn’t seem to be moving in the zone and we didn’t seem to have that sense of urgency to move.”
Bias may have had the hot hand in the first half, knocking down 3 of 5 shots from 3, but it was Toni Young who took control once TCU’s legs finally started to wear out.
Young tallied a double-double in the second half alone, finishing with 18 points and 14 rebounds as Oklahoma State tallied 45 total rebounds and never let TCU within less than 15 throughout the entire second half. Young also finished with five blocks, putting her six away from becoming Oklahoma State’s all-time leading shot blocker.
“I just have to stay calm, do what I do best, and pretty much score over people,” Young said. “Coach (Littell) told me what to do and I just had to do it.”
With a two-game losing streak in the rearview mirror, the Cowgirls now have set their sights on a new goal — winning Bedlam.
“This is a big win,” Littell said. “Every time you get a win in this conference, it’s greatly appreciated and well-earned. We’ve just got to get some rest now. We’ve got to be smart about how we practice out team. We need to let them get their legs back. We’ll get some rest and we’ll be ready when we go into OU.”
“You can’t always reflect on the last game,” Young said. “You have to let those go after they are over and focus on the next one. Just like with this win, we have to let it go and move on to the next one.”
Nick Snow is a sports reporter with the Stillwater NewsPress