Turnovers and a lack of ability to close out the game cost the Oklahoma State women's basketball team Tuesday, Jan. 29 2013 as the team fell to West Virginia 67-61 in Stillwater.
Oklahoma State trailed by 10 most of the game, and by 15 early in the second half. Oklahoma State pulled within 58-57 on Toni Young's free throws with 4:19 to play. The Cowgirls trailed 63-61 after Young's layup with 1:19 left, but Oklahoma State wouldn't score again and West Virginia pulled away.
Four times this season West Virginia has lost a game in the final minute, but it wasn't to be in this game.
OSU has won 24 consecutive games in which four players have scored in double figures. OSU has achieved the feat in 13 of its 15 wins this season. Tuesday that string was broken as the Cowgirls had four in double figures, nearly five, and still lost.
Tiffany Bias and Toni Young had 15 points apiece for the Cowgirls (15-4, 4-4), but Bias committed 11 turnovers. Young extended her streak of double-figures scoring to 27 games, dating to last season. Kendra Suttles had 11 points and Liz Donahoe had 10. Brittney Martin scored nine.
Donohoe missed a free throw in the game, ending her streak of 40. She was six of seven at the line. She is 68-71 for the season.
The Cowgirls host No. 1 Baylor at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Here are Post-game quotes from both teams.
OSU Head Coach Jim Littell
"I'm really disappointed in the way we played. West Virginia is very athletic, very physical, and we didn't match their physicality tonight. In Big 12 play, you can not get out-rebounded, turn the ball over 22 times, not execute, and expect to win games. We had a high number of turnovers. We had a lot of opportunities to step up and make plays. Despite all of that, we had a shot to tie it at 63, and then missed a layup when we were down by four. We missed defensive assignments, other things that you've got to do to win basketball games in the Big 12. I don't want to take anything away from West Virginia. They're a good team that has lost four games in the last minute, minute and a half of games. They could very well be 7-1 at this point. I think that they could be the second most athletic team in our league, behind Baylor. They've got great athletes. They play hard, compete hard. Give them their due."
On the main cause of the 22 turnovers
"I think it's two-fold. I think that part of it is the pressure they put on. And then over half of those were self-inflicted, where we would make mistakes that just didn't make sense. We would throw an outlet pass out of bounds when we were making a comeback. We turned the ball over various different ways. I think that part of it has to do with their pressure, and then part of it had to do with us not being focused and not taking care of the basketball."
On West Virginia's three point shooting
"We talked about the ability of (Christal) Caldwell and (Taylor) Palmer to shoot the ball, and we gave them a lot of open looks. Players in this league, if you don't get out on them, and you don't cover them, they're going to make shots."
On the the Cowgirls' consistency
"The consistency hasn't been there. You play a really nice game agaist Iowa State, then there seems to be a letdown at Kansas State. You go and get a good road win at Kansas, then you don't take care of your home court advantage. The teams that end up in the NCAA Tournament at the end of the year are the ones that are consistent on a regular basis and come play every game. We've had a lot of ups and downs.”
On struggling to close out close games
"I think we just need to get over the adversity of playing from behind. We need to learn to play as a team, get through it and muscle through the finish."
On West Virginia's defense
"It wasn't so much frustrating. I'm very disappointed in how I played at the point guard position. I think that they played good deny defense on the wings, and I shouldn't have forced so many passes. I'm very disappointed in how I performed, but it's one of those nights that I have to move on from and play better."
On trying to find consistency as a team
"I think that we just need to learn to fight through adversity. That's our problem right now, when we fight back but we don't know how to win the game. I think this game and the Kansas State game have been good learning experiences that we will grow from.
On struggling to close out close games
"I feel like we have to take accountability for our mistakes. If we make a mistake, we have to let it go and not let it linger on throughout the game. If we let it linger, it will just snowball into more mistakes."
On allowing West Virginia to take a sizable lead
"They had a couple of shooters that were hot on their three's. We should've adjusted a little more and kept them from shooting so many three's."
On turning up her play in the second half
"After being on the bench in the first half, I just knew that I couldn't come out with the type of play that would put me back on the bench. I have a role that I have to play, and I needed to get out on the court and play that role."
West Virginia Head Coach Mike Carey
"First of all, it's a big win for us. We've had about four of these in the Big 12. We'll have the lead at halftime and then lose the lead under four minutes. We almost did it, but--give our girls a lot of credit--we hung in there. Oklahoma State has a great team. They were the last team in the Big 12 that we hadn't played, and I felt like they had the second-most talent next to Baylor. It's a big win for us. We've been struggling going down the stretch so to get this win is big for us right now...We got a little rattled. We had one possession where we had the ball in our hands twice and lost it, and then another time down the floor we threw it away. We calmed down, and now we have to continue to be aggressive. Our biggest problem is when we get the lead going down under four, we become passive. I just kept telling them to keep attacking, and we were fortunate enough to get the win."
On pressuring Tiffany Bias
"We put a lot of pressure on her. A lot of times we would front her and get behind her. She had a lot of pressure the whole game. She's a great player. I told her that after the game. After watching film, I thought, 'She's one of the best point guards in the country.' We knew we had to make her do something that she's not comfortable doing."