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Oklahoma State cages Vermont with 79-33 mauling with Big 12 play ahead

"Toni [Young] just makes it seem so easy sometimes." - Kurt Budke
"Toni [Young] just makes it seem so easy sometimes." - Kurt Budke

Tuesday night the 25th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowgirls whipped up on the winless Vermont 79-33.

And just like after the drubbing of Texas-Pan American over the weekend, the game recap could be nearly the same.

Lots of points to not very many. Exponentially more points in the paint, off turnovers, in fast break opportunities and off the bench for the Cowgirls. Stifling defense, double-digit steals, 20+ forced turnovers for the seventh consecutive game. The eighth time to hold an opponent under 50 points and the second to keep them in the 30s.

But you already read this just days ago, so we'll move on.

The Cowgirls are moving on to conference play which opens on the road in the Little Apple of Manhattan, Kansas. The Big 12 eagerly awaits this group of youngsters. And while the Pokes will never say they were looking ahead, they might have peeked around the corner just a little bit.

"I think they all understand what time of year it is and how important this game is on Sunday," OSU head coach Kurt Budke said.

Toni Young was the Cowgirls' leading scorer for the seventh time this season and notched her seventh double-double of the year with 21 points on 10-of-13 shooting and 11 rebounds in 19 minutes. Young was just a dozen away from beating the Catamounts on her own. But tonight wasn't about Vermont, it was about OSU.

"Tonight was pretty much about us, it wasn't about the other team," Young said. "We're getting prepared for Big 12 so that's how we had to come out to play."

And since the bulk of the squad has never faced the Big 12, this final tune-up game was an opportunity for the six freshmen, three sophomores, junior and two seniors to turn in one last beat-down performance in non-conference play before diving into conference play head first.

Freshman center Vicky McIntyre took advantage of the last non-conference game to get herself 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting and eight rebounds. Oh yeah, and four monster blocks. She now has 24 blocks on the season and moved into the Top 20 all-time single season shot blocking performances for the Cowgirls and conference play hasn't even begun.

"When she shoots the ball you feel like she's either going to get fouled or she's going to score," Budke said of McIntyre's offense. "We're excited about her. I didn't really realize when I recruited her that she'd be playing this much so early, but she's earned it to this point."

But he's also impressed with the inside presence she brings to the defensive side of the ball.

"We've never really had a shot blocker here, a legitimate shot blocker - not that she blocks every shot, but she changes shots and she has people thinking about her so it's been an asset that we haven't had in the program to this point. When you're in the Big 12 South you better have size."

Along with McIntyre's 16 highly productive minutes, the rest of the freshman class added 86 minutes of court time in the contest.

"I knew this was the last game where we'd be able to get people time - a lot of time - and everybody's worked hard to this moment so they all deserve a chance to play," Budke said. "When we recruited them I told them be ready to play and I think I kept my word here. It's a heck of an opportunity to come in and play."

Overall, Budke is as pleased as he can be with a team that's sitting on a 12-1 record with their only loss coming at the hands of #3 Duke. They've tied his best non-conference start at OSU, but are getting ready to dip their toes in the treacherous waters of the Big 12.

"They've passed Phase I," Budke said. "Phase II is the Big 12 so there's going to be some bumps, there's no question about that, especially as you start playing these teams that are in the Top 5 in the nation. That's the only way - it's better to get these bumps and bruises playing than it is sitting, and that's what I'm excited about with this team."

Toni Young is ready to play hard for those bumps and bruises while dishing out a few crushing blows of her own. "Every game is about to be a battle now. All the little games are out of the way, now it's just straight war."