By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
STILLWATER, Okla. – From the moment Oklahoma State 38, Texas 13 went final last Saturday in Austin, the excitement and anticipation dials around here were turned up to 11.
No. 4 Baylor faces No. 10 Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. Saturday with control of the Big 12 standings on the line. ESPN’s GameDay is in town, the game will be televised by ABC with the A-Team of Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit callin’ and talkin’.
The football game, though, is just another delicious dish on a sports buffet the likes of which has never been seen in the school’s 123-year history. Two significant basketball games, a cross country team running for another national championship, a record crowd expected at Boone Pickens Stadium …
Stillwater? Hardly. Nothing has been still around here this week.
“It’s a special week for Oklahoma State and the fans. It’s a great to be a Cowgirl and a Cowboy this week,” Oklahoma State women’s basketball coach Jim Littell said. “It’s an exciting time and it tells you how far the Oklahoma State sports programs have come.”
Friday night, Oklahoma State’s women’s basketball team, ranked No. 20 by the Associated Press and No. 23 in the coaches’ poll, played a don’t-forget-about-us game with Southern California. The Trojans entered undefeated, but didn’t leave that way.
“We gave glimpses of how good we can be,” said Littell, whose 91-year-old mother passed away earlier in the day. “We took a positive step. We made a good team look pretty average.”
The Cowgirls (5-0) dominated early and often to take control and roll to an 82-51 victory. Oklahoma State dominated the boards (39-29 edge), was efficient offensively (51.7 percent shooting) and locked down on defense (USC made a third of its shots). The Trojans didn’t score baskets on consecutive possessions until 17 minutes had been played and by then the Cowgirls were leading 37-16.
“We’ve been working on being disciplined and having a good start,” senior point guard Tiffany Bias said. “Tuesday night was a blast watching the men’s game. I’ve been here four years and I’ve never seen a week like this.”
Sophomore Brittney Martin stuffed the box score with a career-high 22 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals.
“Everybody is really hyped about the games and sports this week,” Martin said. “It was good we won this way because it was tough getting people to know we were playing with the Memphis game and the Baylor game.”
The football team (9-1, 6-1) has won six consecutive games capped by the 25-point victory over the Longhorns – Oklahoma State’s third straight triumph in Austin, an accomplishment that few thought possible a few years ago. Counting the football winning streak and the undefeated starts in basketball, those three teams have won their last 15 games by the average margin of 30 points.
The Cowboys’ victory over Texas set up the showdown with undefeated Baylor. Normally, a meaningful football game would engender enough enthusiasm. But Oklahoma State’s men’s basketball team helped ramp up the hype.
No. 11 Memphis visited Gallagher-Iba Arena Tuesday night and the seventh-ranked Cowboys drilled the Tigers, 101-80. Sophomore Marcus Smart scored a career-high 39 and got the approval of Kevin Durant. The former national player of the year with Texas and currently an NBA All-Star with the Oklahoma City Thunder made the one-hour trip for some spectating.
“We were glad to get things started, beating a ranked opponent,” said Oklahoma State senior Markel Brown, who attended the women’s game with several of his teammates. “We’re showing that Oklahoma State has got great teams in a lot of sports. It’s been crazy around here this week.”
Mother Nature apparently is pumped up. Friday morning, a 3.7-magnitude earthquake had its epicenter six miles from Stillwater.
Perhaps it’s better to call it a Herbquake. Two years ago, Herbstreit was in town for the telecast of Kansas State-Oklahoma State. After the Cowboys’ victory, Herbstreit was doing a live report with GameDay host Chris Fowler when a 5.6 magnitude quake rocked the stadium. The tremors were felt in Illinois, Kansas, Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas.
After Friday’s trembler, Herbstreit Tweeted: “What the heck is goin’ on? A 3.7 earthquake here this (morning) here in Stillwater!! What is (it) with me showing up at a(n) Oklahoma State game and earthquakes!?!”
When Oklahoma State takes the field to face Baylor, the school might have added another national championship trophy. Coach Dave Smith’s Cowboys will compete in the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., at 10:55 a.m. CST on Saturday. Oklahoma State seeks to defend its national title and win its fourth title in the last five seasons.
“It would just be another step towards our goal, we want to be the best cross country program in the history of the NCAA,” Smith told the Stillwater News-Press.
America’s Brightest Orange wants to be bling-bling blinding. This week has been showing those possibilities.