Starkville, Miss. — Everything has become out OK so far for the Oklahoma State women’s basketball crew this season.
It posted a 20-10 file and earned a No. 9 seed within the NCAA Tournament’s Kansas City regional. The Cowgirls, out of the Big 12, will tackle No. Eight Syracuse University at three:30 p.M. At Humphrey Coliseum at the campus of Mississippi State University.
But whilst Oklahoma State educate Jim Littell looks across the ground, he will get a close-up glimpse of the only who got away.
Syracuse sophomore factor protect Tiana Mangakahia narrowed her choices to OSU and the Orange closing 12 months whilst she changed into figuring out where to play after shifting from Hutchinson Community College in Kansas.
It becomes a near name, but Mangakahia chose the Orange. She became one of the most treasured gamers inside the u. S. And paced Division I in general assists (297) and assists in step with a sport (nine.9). She additionally leads SU with a mean of 17.8 factors in line with a contest.
“You by no means realize inside the recruiting process. She’s no longer best a splendid player but a virtually neat younger girl. And we loved having her in,” Littell said. “It comes down to what’s the excellent preference for her. And she made that choice. And she’s had a notably successful 12 months. I’m partial to children succeeding wherever they cross and having remarkable studies. She’s doing that. Good for her.”
Perhaps the maximum tremendous subplot of Mangakahia’s season is that she so speedy dominated in ACC play without the gain of a single minute of university ball at any degree. But the short variation didn’t wonder Littell.
“It’s like riding a bike. She did not experience that motorbike for two years however you still know the way to journey the bike,” he stated. “She’s a talent. Kids which could play and feature an excessive self-belief degree, and agree within themselves, after which have the ability to engage and come to be entwined with this system that speedy, I think this is the important thing for her.”
Syracuse and Oklahoma State have by no means met in ladies’ basketball before, however, it does not take a storied rivalry for the Cowgirls to parent out where their recognition need to begin.
“I think she’s a virtually excellent factor defend. She distributes the ball truly nicely. She’s like a pass-first point protect,” said Oklahoma State protect Loryn Goodwin. “So she’s driving in there seeking to see if a publisher is going help up, or any person’s going to help, so she can dish it off. And I assume it truly is her major purpose.
“I assume to gradual her down, you need to get her stopped in transition, get her within the half courtroom, simply live in front of her and ensure that we are gambling simply properly crew defense. I suppose in case you play as a team, you could stop one participant. We simply need to playgroup protection, and we’re going to be fine.”
As befitting an 8-9 matchup, Saturday’s game has the makings of a coin flip. Even higher, it ought to be a compelling evaluation of patterns.
The Orange, of a route, tosses up threes like youngsters hurl snowballs in a snowstorm. Syracuse is 292-of-930 from that variety this season, in comparison to 208-of-625 for the Cowgirls.
“We really need to ensure that we’re contesting all threes,” Goodwin stated. “And we recognize that’s what they’re genuinely proper at. They’re going to position loads up no matter if somebody’s on their face or not. So we want to make sure that they may be more difficult threes, and additionally make sure they do not get to the rim as a good deal, pressure them to stay at the outdoor and do what we do fine, which is field out and push it in transition and get taking place the offensive end.”
When the Cowgirls set up at that stop of the ground, they lean heavily on an inner-out assault. Center Kaylee Jensen puts up 18.6 points in keeping with the game (to go together with 10.Eight forums) while Goodwin tosses in 20.Nine.
“I assume it is important to recognize for the duration of the season and right now of yr what your identity is,” Littell said. “Our identification is stability, our identity is using our submit player inner, letting our point shield play and gambling off of her. We’ve played some lousy true basketball. We’ve achieved a few matters within our very own league to help prepare us for this situation.”