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Oklahoma State's pressure defense leads to 50-42 win over Wisconsin

Freshman Tiffany Bias led all scorers in OSU's 50-42 win over the Badgers.
Freshman Tiffany Bias led all scorers in OSU's 50-42 win over the Badgers.

The Oklahoma State University women are now an impressive 8-0 after defeating Wisconsin 50-42 in Gallagher-Iba Arena on Sunday.

But before you cheer for an undefeated Cowgirl start that ties the best in head coach Kurt Budke's tenure, know this. The Cowgirls have a scoring problem - or lack thereof.

"It wasn't a thing of beauty, but it is a win," Budke said.

OSU shot 22.8 percent from the field - 13-of-57. In the second half, the Cowgirls were (if you have a drink in your hand, please put it down, so as not to spill it or spit it up) 1-of-15 from 3-point range and 15.6 percent overall.

OSU's leading scorer, freshman Tiffany Bias, got nine of her 14 points from the free throw line and was 2-of-12 from the field. OSU got to the free-throw line 27 times in the game, while Wisconsin just saw the charity stripe on two occasions and went 2-of-4 from the line.

"I knew we had to get some buckets in somehow," Bias said of her 9-of-10 performance from the line. "Our shots weren't falling, so I mean get to the rim and get fouled, make hustle plays and that's what kept us in the game just all our defense and just hustling all over the floor."

OSU freshman Kendra Suttles was the only other player in the game to crack the double-digits, and she ended up with 10 points, all in the first half.

The go-ahead bucket for the Cowgirls came from senior Lakyn Garrison's only three on the night with 5:47 remaining on the clock. She tossed in the triple to give OSU a 41-40 lead and then the Cowgirls closed out the game with a 12-2 run. Garrison, known for shooting - and hitting - threes from "Lakyn Land" was just 1-of-8 from beyond the arc, 2-of-9 from the field on the night.

"Coach just told me that he hasn't given up on my shot or me," Garrison said. "I've been struggling here lately, but he told me that he was going to come to me and so I kind of felt the pressure and it just kind of went in. After that we just got on a roll."

This marks the Cowgirls' second consecutive game to not get out of the 50s. OSU held on for a 55-52 victory over Arkansas-Little Rock earlier this week after playing catch-up the majority of the game. The Cowgirls erased a double-digit deficit in their game with UALR with under five minutes to play to nab the win on Thursday.

Enough jeering, now onto the cheering.

OSU brought out a three-quarter court press that was just introduced to the team for the first time last week and it worked like a charm. Defensively, the Pokes held Wisconsin to 34 percent shooting, blocked eight shots, had nine steals and forced 25 turnovers that led to 23 points.

"It's fun seeing their faces, like what are we going to do," Garrison said of the Cowgirls' new defensive scheme. "That's the funnest part - putting the pressure on somebody. They don't know where to go, you get your teammates pumped up."

Bias agreed saying, "It's fun. We love defense and we love to run and jump people ... Our defense really prevailed over everything."

OSU faces a stiff challenge next Sunday: Duke comes to town to test the Cowgirls' unbeaten record. And shooting 22 percent for the game against the Blue Devils is not going to translate into maintaining a spotless record for the Cowgirls.

"We haven't had a chance to look at Duke, but we will have to shoot better than we did today," Budke said. "They are a legitimate Final Four team."

Coming from a coach in a league that produces many Final Four-caliber teams, I'd say it's time for those shots to start falling - not only against Duke, but also on Jan. 9 when OSU starts Big 12 Conference play too.