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OSU Sports

January 29, 2014

Oklahoma State's Johnson making key plays off the bench

STILLWATER, Okla. — As Oklahoma State was  mired in a slump against Baylor in Sunday's Big 12 battle in Gallagher-Iba Arena, freshman guard Roshunda Johnson came off the bench to give the Cowgirls at least a puncher's chance.

With Baylor out to its biggest lead of 16 with 15 minutes remaining, Johnson drained a 3-pointer that sparked Oklahoma State on a furious rally over the next seven minutes as OSU claimed its first lead since the first minute of the game.

The play from Oklahoma State's freshman guard obviously caught the eye of 14-year Baylor coach Kim Mulkey.

“I thought she shot the 3-ball better than I had seen on film, and maybe that’s because we were exposing that and challenging her to do that,” Mulkey said. “She stepped up and she did it. Anytime a freshman can get in a game of this magnitude it helps their confidence.”

Johnson hit another 3-pointer in the overtime period to trim OSU's deficit to two points in just under two minutes remaining in the extra frame. The 5-foot-7 freshman from Little Rock, Ark., finished with a career-high 15 points and three steals and appears to be setting herself — and the Cowgirls — up for a push toward a Big 12 Conference championship.

“We've been waiting for her to step up in a game like this,” senior point guard Tiffany Bias said. “She doesn't play like a freshman, though, so we weren't surprised. We were glad that she brought that spark that brought us back into the game in the second half.”

Now Oklahoma State will look for the freshman to help the Cowgirls on the road against a tough TCU team that has lost just one game at home this year.

But as Cowgirl coach Jim Littell pointed out, Johnson hasn't shied away from the pressures of playing on the road.

“I thought she played with outstanding composure for a young player (on Sunday). She continues to get better,” Littell said. “... It seems like the bigger the game, the more she shines.

“She played very well against Iowa State up there as well. She played very well against Kansas down the stretch of that game. ... I think you can see that Ro is going to be a nice player for us in the future.”

Wednesday's game against the Horned Frogs in Fort Worth, Texas, will tip at 7 p.m. in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.

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