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Oklahoma State Advances After Taking Down Cyclones
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CHAMPIONSHIP CENTRAL

By Wendell Barnhouse | wendell@big12sports.com
Big12Sports.com Correspondent

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Simplicity can be a good remedy for the madness of March. Oklahoma State proved that theory.

The Cowgirls, who were torched by Iowa State in Stillwater a dozen days ago, held the Cyclones to 22.2 percent shooting in the second half and made shut down the Cyclones’ offense and made half their shots. That combination helped fourth-seeded Oklahoma State post a 67-57 victory over No. 5 seed Iowa State in Saturday’s quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship.

“Our team is one of those teams that we don't make shots, you're not going to win games,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “When you shoot 22 percent and you miss seven lay-ups against a good team, a Top 20 team, you're going to lose. Sometimes it's not real hard to figure out, and to me that was the difference in the game.”

On Feb. 26, Iowa State lit up Gallagher-Iba Arena with 15 3-pointers en route to an 86-67 victory. The Cyclones made six shots from behind the arc in the first half Saturday – 21 threes in 60 minutes of play.

“Our team is one of those teams that we don't make shots, you're not going to win games,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “When you shoot 22 percent and you miss seven lay-ups against a good team, a Top 20 team, you're going to lose. Sometimes it's not real hard to figure out, and to me that was the difference in the game.”

Iowa State shot 22.2 percent in the second half and missed 14 of their last 15 shots. The Cyclones finished at 34 percent for the game.

“The foundation of our program for a long time has been defense and rebounding. We gave up too many open looks in the first half, but I thought our kids really locked in and probably played the best defense they've played all year long in the second half to limit them to 20 points.”

Trailing 37-30 at halftime, Oklahoma State set the tone in the first two minutes of the second half. Two Iowa State misses and two turnovers converted to a 9-0 run for the Cowgirls. What was the tone of Littell’s halftime message?

“It's always about inspiration, but I think there was a hint of a threat in there,” Bias said. “But no, I think that we all knew that we needed to start the second half with a fire under us, and I think that we did that.”

Littell countered, with a smile: “I’m denying that, by the way.”

Freshman Brittany Atkins, who was averaging less than six points over the last eight games, had the first seven points as Oklahoma State’s first four buckets after the break were layups.

“We were up seven at the half, and we run a play, we get a lay-up around the basket, we miss, and we don't get back in transition, and they get and-one,” Fennelly said. “Again, offensively we really struggled to do some of the things that we need to do to be good to have a chance to win.”

She finished 14 points, one of five Cowgirls in double figures. Bias, Atkins and Brittney Martin each had three steals. Martin had a 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting and 11 rebounds.

Senior Kendra Suttles came off the bench to score 11 points and along with LaShawn Johnson helped defend Iowa State’s Hallie Christofferson (21 points, 11 rebounds) in the low post. Suttles had five points – a layup and then a 3-pointer with two seconds on the shot clock – to boost Oklahoma State’s lead to 61-54 with 4:52 remaining.

No. 18 Oklahoma State (22-7) advances to Sunday’s semifinals and will take on No. 1 seed Baylor at 2 p.m. The Lady Bears (27-4) advanced with an 81-47 quarterfinal victory over No. 8 seed Kansas.

 

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