It took a half for the Oklahoma State women's basketball team to kick off the rust, but then the Cowgirls kicked it into high gear to pull away for an 87-56 victory over East Central University Tuesday night in an exhibition contest at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
The Cowgirls held only an 8-point advantage at halftime, with OSU registering nearly as many turnovers (seven) and fouls (nine) as it had field goals (10).
“Last night was just a great experience all the way around. We have a great group of girls, and they fought hard and played with a lot of enthusiasm the whole game,” said East Central interim head coach Emily Holombek.“We knew going into the game that they would expose our deficiencies, and now we know what to correct before our season opener.”
In the second half, the Lady Pokes finally looked like a Division I team expected to make a return trip to the NCAA Tournament facing a Division II program.
“It was a pretty ugly first half. I think we had a lot of kids that were anxious to play, and sometimes you can get a little too worked up to play,” Cowgirls coach Jim Littell said. “I believe you saw in the second half a little more of an indication of our talent level. I'm not really concerned.”
The Cowgirls had five players reach double-digit scoring. Senior point guard Tiffany Bias led the way with 18 points to go with a team-high five assists. Also reaching double figures were Brittany Atkins (16), Liz Donohoe (14), LaShawn Jones (12) and Roshunda Johnson (11).
The shifty Cowgirl players were able to capitalize on the new rule changes that prevent defenders from hand-checking. Despite forward Brittney Martin being sidelined with an ankle injury, Oklahoma State scored 46 points in the paint — largely from dribble penetration.