By Jason Elmquist
Stillwater News Press
STILLWATER, Okla. —
With the Big 12 Conference Championship 10 days away, the Oklahoma State women’s basketball team has just three games remaining to jockey for seeding in the tournament which will be held at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.
The 15th-ranked Cowgirls (21-5, 10-5 in Big 12 ) will host Iowa State at 7 p.m. Wednesday with a chance to at least tie for the valuable third seed behind Baylor and West Virginia, respectively.
“We’ve got a lot to play for. If we get one more win, it assures a tie for third and two more wins gets you third by yourself,” Cowgirl coach Jim Littell said. “... Twelve wins would be the most an Oklahoma State team has ever recorded since the inception of the Big 12. So we’re got a lot of things to play for — plus we want our three seniors to end the year with these last few games in a positive fashion.”
Life hasn’t been easy of late for Oklahoma State. The Cowgirls got crushed on the road in West Virginia — losing 77-45, for their most lopsided defeat of the season — and needed a last-second layup from Tiffany Bias to avoid giving Texas Tech its first league win.
But both of those games were on the road. The Cowgirls get to return to their own gym, where they have lost just two games all year — to the top two teams in the Big 12.
“It’s always nice to come back home especially with having such great support here,” Bias said. “We’re ready to have one of those good games that we know we can have and it would be even better to have a good game in front of our crowd.”
It’s been just over a month since the last time the Cowgirls won back-to-back games — when they ran off five straight before losing by three in overtime to Baylor on Jan. 26.
Oklahoma State nearly won that game in regulation, but a layup at the buzzer by Bias lipped out.
“There were a lot of things we could have done differently in that game and I’m very hard on myself — I think I should have made that layup that could have won that game,” the senior point guard said. “We wish we could have that one back because it was a win that could have helped us — really there’s a couple of them that we should have won.”
When in the same situation Sunday with her Cowgirls trailing by a point at Texas Tech, the bucket went down this time.
“I think it was just having confidence and believing. Seven seconds is a long time,” Bias said. “It was one of those situations where you’ve got to be focused and be mentally prepared and just make the shot — especially with it being a layup.”
If OSU is to make it two straight, the Cowgirls will have to face a team playing with a lot to lose. The Cyclones are treading in the bottom half the Big 12 standings and are looking for some signature wins to help bolster their NCAA tournament resume.
“We are going to get their best shot. It will be the hardest and the best effort they’ve played with all year long,” Littell said. “They host a regional at their place and they are not going to want to not be playing at the regional in their place.”
Since starting the season 14-0, which included three straight conference wins over TCU, Oklahoma and Texas Tech, the Cyclones have been spiraling out of control. It all starter with their first loss of the season — at home to these Oklahoma State Cowgirls on Jan. 11.
Since then, Iowa State has gone 4-7, and just like OSU, has failed to win back-to-back games.
“You can’t take any team for granted. They are a great shooting team, so you definitely can’t leave them open,” Bias said. “Even though this is our home floor, they are going to come out just like any other game. You can’t let them get those first 3-pointers up because they can get hot.”