By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
When the Oklahoma State University Cowgirls basketball team opens its season with an exhibition against Central Oklahoma at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Gallagher-Iba Arena, the remnants of last year’s Women’s NIT championship team will still be intact.
But along with players like Tiffany Bias and Toni Young, a new group of Cowgirls will lace up their orange sneakers for the first time.
“I’ve been very impressed with how they’ve adapted to our offense and the way we do things,” Oklahoma State guard Tiffany Bias said. “We have some juco transfers and some freshmen, and I feel like they’re contributing to the team a lot. I’m excited to see just how they’re going to do during the season. I think they’re going to do great and I think they’re going to help us win games.”
Among the newcomers is freshman guard Brittney Martin. A native of Syracuse, Utah, Martin comes in as one of the highest ranked recruits in Cowgirl history after being the 19th best prospect in the nation according to ESPN HoopGurlz.
“Brittney Martin is a talent,” Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said. “She brings a physicality like Liz (Donohoe) has, but her head’s spinning right now because we’re running an offense. The offense in Syracuse, Utah, was throw the ball to her and go let her score. ... When she gets adapt to everything we’re doing, she’s going to be a special talent. She’s one of those players that can go create her own shot and that was something that we were really needing. She’s very strong and very coachable, and she’s only going to get better.”
Martin may be the crown jewel in this year’s recruiting class, but the player Littell expects to have the biggest impact is Kamri Anderson — a Tulsa native and transfer from Independence (Kan.) Community College.
“Kamri Anderson is one of those players that doesn’t care if she scores,” Littell said. “She can come in and defend at this level. I think she can come in and distribute the ball at this level and has the ability to play both the (point guard) and (shooting guard) position.
“(Players like Anderson) can be very valuable because they come in with almost 70 games experience. When we were in the hoopla (of Homecoming & Hoops) with 9,000 people in there, she was pretty calm because she’s played before. She played in a good program in Independence and was well-coached there. I believe that my experience in junior college and being there for 14 years helps junior college players get acclimated a little bit quicker than some other places.”
New Mexico transfer Morgan Toben and freshman Brittany Atkins also are new to the Cowgirl program, along with associate head coach Candace Whitaker and director of player development Jack Easley.
With so many fresh faces, it brings up one major question — can this bunch come together and duplicate last year’s remarkable run?
“We’ve been spending a bunch of time together and are becoming very close as a team,” Bias said. “We went through a lot of stuff last year, but I feel like this year we’re a lot closer and all that stuff helps when you’re trying to mesh and come together. Basketball is a team sport and the closer you and the more in-tune you are with each other, the more success you’re going to have. We just have to keep building on that foundation that we’ve already laid and keep working at it every day.”