By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
It’s often said that a basketball team is only as good as its point guard. And while Oklahoma State junior point guard doesn’t always fill up the basket, there’s no question as to her importance in the Cowgirls’ lineup.
“She does so much for us,” Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said. “As many minutes as we have to play, she just amazes me how she can continue to run and have the energy that she does.”
Because of her incredible stamina — often playing all 40 minutes — Littell often calls her the Energizer Bunny of the Cowgirls’ roster. She provided a different kind of energy during Oklahoma State’s 71-42 blowout of No. 24 Iowa State Sunday at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Bias tallied 12 points and 11 assists in the win, but it was her defense that helped the Cowgirls open the second half with a 20-0 run — essentially taking the Cyclones out of the game before the 12-minute mark in the second half.
“She did a great job guarding (Iowa State’s Nikki) Moody,” Littell said. “She held her to 2 points on 1 for 8 from the field. I thought she was just as outstanding defensively as she was offensively.”
Defense has been a work in progress since the day Bias stepped on the floor at Gallagher-Iba Arena. A track champion in high school, Bias had the speed to cover just about anybody — being in the right position at the right was another story, however.
“Defense is one of those things that I’m always working on,” Bias said. “Even when I have a game like (against Iowa State), there are still some things I can do better. I never really feel like my defense is a finished product because you have to keep working hard in practice and keep improving each day — even if it is on those little things.”
Bias got plenty of help this weekend, with former Oklahoma State standout Andrea Riley dropping by for Saturday’s practice. By Sunday, it was Riley that seemed in awe of Bias from her seat near the student section.
The junior from Andover, Kan., went 5 of 11 from the field, forcing the Cyclones to guard her more. That opened up the wings and allowed players like Liz Donohoe to get open for 3-pointers — a big part of Oklahoma State’s run late in the first half.
“People have to guard her and try and stop her first and then that gets the wings open,” Donohoe said. “She had great court vision and she’s a great point guard and her going in and driving opens it up for us.”
Like most players, Bias isn’t averse to the occasional slump. A wrist injury earlier in the season limited her ability to shoot. But through that injury she has learned a little patience.
“I’ve just learned as the year has gone just to slow down and not go 100 mph every second,” Bias said. “If you just read more a little bit, you’ll find better shots so you don’t take a wild shot. I’m not all about points. If I see a person open in front of me, I’d rather have them get the easy layup.”
A point guard’s job is to be the most unselfish player on the team — and Bias takes that definition to a new level. She’s not afraid to sacrifice points or her body for her team.
But when she gets really going — like she did against Iowa State — Littell admits that it’s hard not to just want to sit back and watch her play.
“It was good to see Tiffany Bias go out and have some fun,” Littell said. “Twelve points, 11 assists, two turnovers and three steals — that’s more than my career numbers were.”