Ja’Mee Asberry had arguably the worst half of her season Friday night, but she bounced back to lead the Oklahoma State women’s basketball team to an overtime win in the Big 12 Conference Tournament.
The OSU junior scored only a pair of points – making just a single of her dozen shot attempts – in the first half of the game. Meanwhile, the Cowgirls fell behind by double-digits to Bedlam rival Oklahoma in the conference tournament quarterfinals.
Asberry found her groove in the second half, and eventually overtime, to lead all players in scoring as the Cowgirls escaped an early exit in Kansas City, Missouri. The Cowgirls won, 89-80, advancing to face West Virginia at 3 p.m. Saturday.
It was the Cowgirls’ first game since losing at Baylor on Feb. 24 to close out the regular season. They had 15 days off before Friday’s contest.
“Very proud of our kids,” OSU coach Jim Littell said. “We played really bad in the first half, to be honest. I think that was attributed a bit to 16 days off. We’ve got a lot of high character kids including the young lady to my right (Asberry) and that’s why you keep playing and never quit no matter how bad it looks. … We know what we’re capable of, and that was one heck of a comeback and a big win for our program.”
Asberry entered the game averaging 17.1 points per game as the Cowgirls’ second-leading scorer. She struggled to make shots in the the first half Friday, sinking her final shot before the break.
With 51 seconds left in the second quarter, Asberry hit a jumper, scoring her first points of the game and slightly trimming Oklahoma’s 15-point lead.
“Once I hit that first shot in the first half, I went in the locker room and said, ‘I just needed one to go in,’” Asberry said. “It was over with from there.”
Only one Cowgirl scored more than four points in the first half, as OSU trailed 36-23 at the break. Senior Natasha Mack had eight points to lead the Cowgirls.
OSU (18-7) rallied in the second half, but still found itself down 10 points with 5:28 remaining in the game. However, it rallied with an 8-0 run over the next 2:39, sparked by six points from a pair of in-state players in sophomore Lauren Fields and freshman Taylen Collins.
Oklahoma scored a three-point play nine seconds later, but that was the final field goal in regulation for the Sooners. Meanwhile, Asberry sank a pair of 3-pointers and Mack hit 1 of 2 free throws with 1:28 left in regulation. Both teams went scoreless in the final 88 seconds as the third Bedlam game of the season went to overtime.
In the extra period, OU led briefly by one point before the Cowgirls went on a 13-2 run. Asberry scored eight of those points. She sank two more free throws in the final seconds to seal the victory.
Littell wasn’t surprised Asberry bounced back from her slow start to have a great final 25 minutes of action.
“Her coaches believe in her and her teammates believe in her,” Littell said, “and shooters keep shooting. Just keep shooting.”