Stillwater — Oklahoma State fans as a whole have had a rough opening to the year 2014. Oklahoma State’s football team fell 41-31 to Missouri in the Cotton Bowl on Friday night. The Cowboy’s men’s basketball team fell on Saturday afternoon to Kansas State 74-71. The OSU women’s basketball team also fell Saturday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena 71-67 to West Virginia.
The Cowgirls held a 63-53 lead with 5:31 remaining. But missed shots and missed free throws cost Oklahoma State their 12-game winning streak. The Cowgirls fell to 12-1 as the Mountaineers rose to 13-1.
“We definitely let one get away here,” Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said. “This is one that was right there for the taking ... You just don’t allow good teams to hang around and that’s what we did.”
Oklahoma State missed 11 free throws. The Cowgirls shot just 21 for 32 at the charity stripe. OSU knows that games in the conference are won and lost at the line.
“There’s so many games in this league that are going to be decided by two to three possessions,” Littell said. “We’ve tried to put a lot of time in (on free throws).”
The Cowgirls will look to get back in the gym and take their practice intensity to a new level.
“We have to become a better practice team. Since December 26, we have not practiced with the intensity or the focus that we need to,” Littell said. “It comes down on me to where I’ve got to get us to practicing better.”
Oklahoma State not only shot a low percentage at the free throw line but also from the floor. The Cowgirls shot just 20 of 63.
“I think it was just an off shooting night,” Tiffany Bias said. “We have to step up and hit those shots.”
The Cowgirls found themselves in a tough position with a 70-67 deficit with 24.5 seconds to play. Bias hoisted up a 3-pointer that did not fall. Fortunately for the Cowgirls the rebound fell out of bounds after hitting a West Virginia player. Oklahoma State had another shot at tying the ballgame with 12.2 seconds to play. Kendra Suttles shot also clanked off of the rim as West Virginia ended Oklahoma State’s winning streak.
“Our girls showed a lot of heart. We were down big in the first half and we were down in the second half and our girls fought back,” West Virginia coach Mike Carey said.
West Virginia’s Bria Holmes led the game with 21 points. Asya Bussie dropped in 13 and Christal Caldwell chipped in 12 in the Mountaineer win.
LaShawn Jones led the Cowgirls with 18 points in the loss. Bias and Brittany Atkins both scored 13 points.
The Mountaineer’s pace was too much for Oklahoma State as West Virginia outscored the Cowgirls 16-4 in fast break points.
“I think they were running out pretty good,” Bias said. “We should never get beat like that. Our defense is too good.”
The Mountaineers were also strong in the paint as they beat the Cowgirls 34-22 down low.
“I just got caught switching a lot when I should’ve been down and ready,” Jones said.
Oklahoma State pulled down a whopping 22 offensive rebounds and had 23 defensive rebounds. The Cowgirls out rebounded West Virginia 45-34.
“They pound the boards,” Carey said.
Oklahoma State will look to recover from the loss as the Cowgirls will travel to Manhattan, Kan., on Wednesday.
“We’ll find out what we’re about right now. It isn’t any indication of who you are or what you are when you’re 12-0. It’s what you do after you have a tough loss and how you’re going to bounce back from that,” Littell said.