By Nick Snow
CNHI News Service
STILLWATER – Oklahoma State senior forward Lindsey Keller said going in that the game against Iowa State was a statement game for the Cowgirls.
The entire Big 12 Conference heard that statement loud and clear as 17th-ranked Oklahoma State blew out No. 24 Iowa State 71-42 Sunday in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“This was a big respect game,” Oklahoma State junior guard Tiffany Bias said. “I think that we came out ready to play and focused. We executed our plays and I think that we should get the respect we deserve, so this was a big statement game for us.”
Liz Donohoe scored 18 points – including 4 of 8 from beyond the arc – while also tallying 8 rebounds to help lead Oklahoma State (14-2, 3-2) to its third-straight conference win. Bias also tallied a double-double with 12 points and 11 assists while Kendra Suttles scored a season-high 12 points.
But it was the defense and subsequent transition offense that led to the blowout.
“Our defense definitely led to some transition,” Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said. “We had not run the ball as much lately, but it was good to see Tiffany Bias go out and have some fun. Twelve points, 11 assists, 2 turnovers and 3 steals – that’s more than my career numbers were.”
Despite a little bit of a slow start with four turnovers in the first eight minutes, the Cowgirls put the game away early by holding Iowa State to two field goals over the final 10:13 of the first half. Oklahoma State’s offense also provided plenty of fireworks, knocking down four 3-pointers on four straight trips down the floor as the Cowgirls ended the half on a 16-5 run to take a 31-21 lead into halftime.
“(We) set the tone with one of the first plays of the game when Lindsey stopped (Chelsea) Poppens with great post defense,” Bias said. “It got us all riled up and ready to play. When one person gets up and gets the ball stopped or knocks the ball away, it just gets us excited and up in the passing lanes more.”
Oklahoma State kept the pedal to the metal in the second half, opening the half with a 20-0 run and holding Iowa State without a field goal for the first 8 minutes.
“I just told the girls to keep guarding because they’re dangerous,” Littell said. “We saw what they did against Oklahoma and how well they shoot the basketball. You’re never really where you feel comfortable with them. We’ve been really talking to our team about playing in four-minute segments, so that’s what we were talking about.”
Iowa State (13-3, 4-2) pulled within 26 after a jumper by Poppens in the lane with 3:29 left, but three straight baskets by Toni Young helped Oklahoma State end the game on a 6-3 run.
“I’m very proud of our basketball team and the way we competed for 40 minutes,” Littell said. “... I thought defensively, that was as good as we’ve been in a long time around here. Not only how we guarded, but also how we stayed to the scouting report and knew where shooters were.”
As a team, Oklahoma State shot 50 percent – including making 8 of 18 (44.4 percent) from 3. The Cowgirls also held Iowa State to 30.8 percent from the field, it’s second-worst shooting percentage this season.
“We just got totally beat up, spanked – whatever term you want to use,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “Oklahoma State was great and (this was) by far the worst we played all year. …
“When you do that against a top 25 team on the road, you’re going to get beat bad. You have to make shots. We couldn’t make any and they made a lot of them. They were by far a better team today and I’m certainly disappointed we didn’t give a better effort.”