MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

March 22, 2014

Cowgirls looking for a deeper tournament run

By Andrew Glover
CNHI News Service

— STILLWATER – After spending the last three months going against Big 12 teams, the Oklahoma State women’s basketball team is quite frankly looking forward to playing someone else. At 10 a.m. today in West Lafayette, Ind., the fifth-seeded Cowgirls hope to advance in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season when they face the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles.

“The Big 12 is a grind the whole year, you don’t know who is going to win,” senior point guard Tiffany Bias said. “You beat up each other the whole season and then you have to play them again. ... “I’m really looking forward to playing someone we haven’t seen.”

Oklahoma State hasn’t played Florida Gulf Coast, but coach Jim Littell said the Cowgirls’ Big 12 schedule should have them ready to play.

“You see a little bit of everything,” Littell said. “TCU got a great zone, you see sagging man from Iowa State. This league there isn’t too much you haven’t seen when you go through it.”

Florida Gulf Coast (26-7) has six players that average double-figures in scoring with redshirt senior guard and Atlantic Sun Player of the Year Sarah Hansen leading the way with 13.8 points. Littell said he feels good about his guards especially with senior Tiffany Bias as the leader.

“Tiffany has had a lot of experience and postseason experience, as has Liz Donohoe and Brittney Martin,” Littell said. “We feel pretty good about our guard-play.”

Martin said they learned what it was like playing in the NCAA Tournament last season and hope for a deeper run this season.

“We were ready for anything last year but didn’t finish as well as I thought (we would),” Martin said. “We’re ready and we know what to expect.”

Seniors Kamri Anderson, Kendra Suttles and Bias begin their final tournament run on Saturday. Bias said she wants to do everything she can to extend her season.

“I’m so focused,” Bias said. “I’m just worried about everyone getting to the right spot and making sure everything is set. I’m not worried about whether it’s my last one. You start freaking out when you focus on that.”

If Oklahoma State wins today, it will face the winner of fourth seed Purdue and 13th seed Akron on Monday. If it ends up being Purdue, it will be the second consecutive season that OSU’s played an NCAA opponent on its own floor. Last season, Oklahoma State lost to Duke in Durham, N.C., in the second round of the tournament.