Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

February 23, 2013

Cowgirls knock off Sooners in Bedlam battle

STILLWATER — It seemed like a familiar sight for the Oklahoma State women’s basketball team. Build a big lead only to watch it dwindle away.

Only this time, Oklahoma State junior guard Tiffany Bias wouldn’t it happen.

Bias scored 17 points — 14 in the second half — as the Cowgirls beat Oklahoma 83-62 in Bedlam Saturday at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

“Coach (Jim Littell) really told me to push the ball,” Bias said. “Look for gaps to see if anyone is open or get to the hole if you need to. Especially on those fast breaks when they’re still trying to get back, it’s always good to attack them.”

In a game filled with historic runs Oklahoma State (19-7, 8-7 in Big 12) got the one that mattered most, opening the second half with a 15-3 run and scoring points in 13 out of 14 possessions at one point in the second half.

“In the game of basketball you’re always going to have runs,” Bias said. “We had our run in the beginning and they came back with a run. You just have to keep your composure and fight through it. The second half, we calmed down. We weren’t frustrated. We knew that with our team we could figure this out. We did and came out and fought hard.”

“We didn’t come out with the fight we had in the first half,” Oklahoma guard Morgan Hook said. “We just kind of came out there and thought it was going to fall into our hands. We didn’t start the game with that same fire that we had in the middle of the first half to start the second half.”

Oklahoma State jumped out to a 23-4 lead with 12 minutes left in the first half only to watch Oklahoma (19-8 9-6 in Big 12) go on a 25-3 run over the next eight minutes to take its first lead of the game before Liz Donohoe’s 3-point play helped give the Cowgirls a 34-33 lead at halftime.

“We could have said, ‘Here it goes again. We’ve blown a lead,’” Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said. “But our kids responded and did a great job and I’m proud of them for that.”

Instead the Cowgirls battled for every loose ball and free rebound — attacking the basket and going right Oklahoma’s post players Nicole Griffin and Joanna McFarland.

It was a strategy that paid off as Oklahoma State pulled down 19 offensive rebounds — even without Lindsey Keller.

“Giving up offensive rebounds,” Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. “That’s the statistic that tells the tale. You can survive not shooting well if you’re not giving teams extra possessions. They had 19 second shots. Nineteen offensive rebounds — it’s hard to win, especially on the road when you do that.”

And when the Sooners looked like they were on the verge of pulling off a second improbable comeback after cutting Oklahoma State’s lead to six with 9:06 left in the second half, it was Bias that got the Cowgirls rolling with a steal and layup in the backcourt as Oklahoma State scored on 13 of its next 14 possessions.

“(Bias) was very special today,” Littell said. “She ran the show and distributed the basketball and played with great energy and great speed. She was just tough to guard. When she get rolling like that our other kids feed off her and when she’s that good our team takes it to a new level.”

Kendra Suttles led Oklahoma State with 19 points and eight rebounds, while Liz Donohoe also had 18 points and eight rebounds. Toni Young also recorded a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Aaryn Ellenberg led the Sooners with 22 points, while Griffin chipped in 12 points after scoring 21 against the Cowgirls in Norman. Nicole Kornet also had 10 points — most of those coming during Oklahoma’s comeback in the first half.

For a team that had trouble closing games in the past, Oklahoma State surprised a lot of people Saturday — perhaps even the NCAA tournament committee as they continue to fight for an NCAA berth.

“I told them I never know which team is going to show up, but the good one showed up and they were pretty good today,” Littell said. “...They showed me something tonight. We haven’t done that in the past. We’ve relinquished some leads and we relinquished a lead at TCU. We had a 10-point lead with five minutes to go. We talked to our team about finishing the game. They did that tonight.”

Nick Snow is a sports reporter for the Stillwater NewsPress.

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