STILLWATER, Okla. — Loryn Goodwin hit two layups to get her team back into a reasonable deficit as the Gallagher-Iba Arena crowd got to its feet.
Oklahoma State was making its move, or so the Cowgirls thought, until Brooke McCarty drained two-straight 3-pointers to extend Texas’ lead once again.
It was that way most of the day where OSU would make a little run before Texas would match or surpass it on the way to a 77-62 Longhorn victory Saturday afternoon.
Goodwin, a graduate transfer point guard, said it seemed the Longhorns were subbing in players constantly, making it difficult to keep adjusting on defense.
“They have about 12 people that come in and do something,” Goodwin said. “I thought I saw a new face after every timeout.”
The No. 21 Cowgirls were adjusting well early to Texas, keeping pace with them as Goodwin attacked the lane and the team was finding nice mide-range jumpers.
In the second quarter, the shots stopped falling and then in the second half, Texas took away OSU’s third-scoring option in Braxtin Miller so the Cowgirls were in even more trouble.
Texas coach Karen Aston said it was her plan to take away the prowess that Miller – a freshman – possesses, as she was a standout player against the Longhorns when the teams met in Austin back in early January.
“I thought in the second half, we did a better job on Miller,” Aston said. “She is kind of the third scorer for them and we talked about it at halftime that all three of their main scorers were even in points so I thought we needed to slow her down. We did a little better job of that. She was really good in Austin.”
The Longhorns countered Miller by switching senior Ariel Atkins onto her for most of the second half, locking her down.
“That’s part of being a freshman sometimes in this league,” OSU coach Jim Littell said. “She was facing one of the best players in the league and one of the premier players in the country that will play for money someday. It’s just part of growing up in this league.”
Miller finished with 12 points, only three of which came in the second half. Goodwin had 21 points and Kaylee Jensen scored 19 to round out the Cowgirls in double figures.
While both Aston and OSU coach Jim Littell agreed with the players that the two teams are currently in the dog days of the season and it is hard to find energy night in and out, Texas (22-4, 13-2) had the larger number of contributors Saturday.
Where OSU was pummeled by a Baylor squad with a talented, but small, rotation, the Cowgirls couldn’t go to their bench much against the never-ending No. 6 Longhorns.
The Cowgirls (18-8, 9-6) only mustered five points from the bench, all coming from junior LaTashia Jones. Because of the team’s lack of a reserve unit in conference play, Littell said he is limited to heavily playing his starters.
“We haven’t had much point production off of our bench and sometimes when you are struggling and the bench isn’t scoring, you probably don’t play them as much,” Littell said.
Despite the team’s fatigue, with Aston saying she even thought Goodwin looked spent at times, the Cowgirls said they can’t use it as an excuse and have got to find a way to become an all-around more productive unit.
Aston pointed at the fact that even her squad has hat fatigue issues but Saturday, McCarty and Atkins helped spark the team to pull away from OSU in the second half.
McCarty and Atkins finished with 17 and 15 points, respectively, along with Jatarie White’s 12 and Joyner Holmes’ 10.
Goodwin and Jensen said that is something they need to work on is playing through the fatigue.
“Every team is going through the aches and pains of a long regular season,” Jensen said. “It is just one of those things that you have to keep pushing through. You can’t whine about it. You have to keep yourself rested and get yourself in the cold tub, extra stretching and just power through.”
With the loss, the Cowgirls are now tied with Oklahoma in the standings, though the Cowgirls hold the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Sooners. Littell said the Cowgirls are still in the drivers seat, but with three games remaining in the regular season and two being on the road, he said every game is a must-win if the team wants to maintain control of its destiny.
The Cowgirls next game is at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Kansas in Phog Allen Fieldhouse.
“It’s important that we get back on track and just take care of the last three ballgames,” Littell said. “We have got to put these last two ballgames behind us.”