The Oklahoma State women’s basketball team has been looking for a challenge as a precursor to the Big 12 Conference season.
They got that challenge against Texas State — at least for one half.
Toni Young scored a season-high 24 points and grabbed 19 rebounds as the 18th-ranked Cowgirls used a second-half surge to defeat Texas State 90-55 Wednesday in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“I thought Toni was the one that really kept us in the game in the first half by scoring and rebounding the ball and giving us second and third opportunities the way she did,” Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said.
Oklahoma State (5-0) shot 36.6 percent from the field in the first half before knocking down a few more shots in the second half, outscoring the Bobcats 52-24 after the break to pull away.
“It was a really nice win for our team,” Littell said. “They had a good ball club, you saw that the first half and in beating TCU the way they did in their last game. I thought we came out and dominated a pretty good team in the second half.”
But while the Cowgirls struggled to knock shots down during the first half, it was their rebounding against a team that has already beat one Big 12 team this season that paved the way for Oklahoma State. The Cowgirls outrebounded Texas State (3-2) 67-34, with freshman Brittney Martin pitching in 12 rebounds to Young’s total.
“Coach (Littell) emphasized rebounding (Tuesday) and (Wednesday) a lot,” Young said. “He told us that the team that commits to rebounding and playing defense will win the game.”
“When you get 25 more shots than your opponents and it is a direct result of the offensive rebounds, it was huge that we rebounded the ball like that,” Littell said. “We’ve got the capabilities of doing that. We have the athleticism. Rebounding is just a desire and a want-to. There’s not a whole lot of technique to it and I thought our kids did a good job of that.”
Rebounding may have been the difference Wednesday, but it took a spark from Liz Donohoe to ignite the Cowgirls after a sluggish first 10 minutes. Donohoe finished with 22 points after scoring 14 in the first half as Oklahoma State took a 38-31 lead at halftime.
“I just hit some shots,” Donohoe said. “I went cold there for a little bit, but luckily we had Toni there to keep us in the game. All in all, I think we did a good job.”
With the win the Cowgirls will focus their attention on Saturday’s game against Texas Southern. And while they are riding high, Littell knows his team can be even better.
“Our mentality is the same every time,” Littell said. “Let’s go get better. Let’s find some things that we need to continue to work on and emphasize that.”
NICK SNOW is a sports reporter for the Stillwater NewsPress