By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The Oklahoma State women’s basketball team has seen its fair share of ups and downs — and that was just in the last week. From a crushing loss at Texas Christian to a huge win at Bedlam, the Cowgirls have been on a wild — and at times maddening — rollercoaster ride.
Now the Cowgirls (19-7, 8-7 in Big 12) hope to right the ship and move up the ladder in the Big 12 standings when they face Texas Tech (20-7, 10-5 in Big 12) at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Lubbock, Texas.
“Hopefully we grew from that,” Littell said. “It’s just about being consistent. You hope that you don’t blow leads, but if things get away from you a little bit you have the focus and will power to keep fighting like we did against OU.”
Oklahoma State has struggled with maintaining leads this season — beginning with loss to the Red Raiders in Stillwater. Despite almost being willed to victory by Tiffany Bias, the Cowgirls watched their lead evaporate as they dropped their conference opener.
“We’ve got to do a better job at protecting leads,” Oklahoma State senior Toni Young said. “I don’t know what it is. Sometimes when we get up by a lot, we have a tendency to relax and we let teams back in the game.”
Protecting leads is a little bit easier said than done against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are full of upperclassmen who have seen just about everything and been through just about every situation. On top of that, Texas Tech comes into Wednesday’s game having won four of the last five with the lone loss coming against Baylor.
“Texas Tech is second in the conference and is a team that’s playing with unbelievable confidence,” Littell said. “They start four seniors that have basically started for four years. Then they have a junior that they’re playing as well. They’re a tough team because they basically start five guards. They create some matchup problems for us but I feel like we’ve prepared well, have a good plan in and are excited about going and playing.”
Going up against a guard-oriented team is nothing new for the Cowgirls. Oklahoma State just went up against a heavily guard-oriented University of Oklahoma Sooner team and won by 21 a week after putting a 35-point pasting on another guard-heavy team in Kansas State University.
“It helps a little,” Littell said. “They’re a little more like K-State, but they’re more experienced and more talented. It’s been a team that’s been real consistent in their play throughout the year and we’ll have to go in and play well.”
Texas Tech may be the perfect model when it comes to the consistency the Cowgirls are looking for. But now Littell is hoping his team shows a little consistency by reaching the 20-win plateau and winning its second straight game.
“We’re trying to build some momentum,” Young said. “We want to get to a point where we’re playing well night in and night out. You do have to take the good with the bad, but we’d just like to be a little more consistent.”
Not only would a win over the Red Raiders help the Cowgirls become more consistent and make a push toward a bye in the Big 12 Tournament, but it might help bolster Oklahoma State’s NCAA résumé as well
“We still have work to do to get to the NCAA tournament, so this is a very important game for us,” Littell said. “...We just have to do things right on a daily basis. It’s all in the preparation and practice, understanding the game plan and then just going and competing as hard as we did last Saturday.
“I thought we played extremely hard and competed. We got every 50-50 ball. We won every hustle stat and that’s what it’s going to take for us to get a win at Texas Tech.”