Jacie Hoyt brought in players over the summer full of basketball talent, and most importantly; scoring. Something OSU didn’t do much of last season.
It was a struggle for last season’s OSU women’s basketball team to get the ball in the basket and consistently perform well. The team was one of the worst shooting teams in the country. OSU’s field goal shooting percentage was 34.4%, which ranked No. 337 out of 348 in the country.
Now, an almost whole new team has dawned in Stillwater, with experience, scoring and the ability to make shots being a strong point for coach Jacie Hoyt’s first squad at OSU.
And it starts with one of the players she brought in from Kansas City, sixth-year guard Naomie Alnatas.
“I think that’s why she brought me here,” Alnatas said. “There’s a culture she’s trying to implement here and that’s my job. I’m here to show it to the girls and help them understand the way she works. That’s my job here.”
The culture on the court Hoyt is trying to instill at OSU is a fast-paced, high scoring type of offense. But, after last season’s abysmal shooting performance, it’s hard to believe it will work right away. Well, it has.
On Tuesday, OSU hosted Northeastern State in an exhibition game and the fastbreak scoring paired with quality shottaking gave a glimpse of just how good the new Hoyt offensive system could be.
Alnatas thrived on Tuesday, as always, in Hoyt’s system as she drained four 3-pointers leading to a 14-point performance while dishing out four assists. She’s the blueprint as to how other players can thrive in this system.
OSU beat the Riverhawks 91-41. Sure, NSU is a Division II program, but the score by the Cowgirls is still significant considering it’s the first time they’ve scored 91-plus points since 2020’s matchup versus Oklahoma. OSU also scored 24 points in the first quarter, something OSU didn’t do last season.
Scoring the ball for the Cowgirls not only came frequently, it became easy too as they shot 51% from the field while also making 48% of their three-pointers.
After talking with fans following OSU’s win, it became clear what they were impressed with the most and that was the 21-of-24 free-throw shooting performance, which was another struggle point last season when the Cowgirls shot just 62%.
“I learned when I got here that it was a thing before,” Hoyt said. “It was a little bit of an issue and a challenge. I’m just someone where I don’t want to talk about that stuff, I don’t want to speak that into existence and so we worked really hard on just deconstructing whatever mindset that the returners had, but we also recruited a lot of shooters. So, we do a lot of drills that force them to focus on their free throws. And I’m not surprised by this just because I’ve seen them do it every day.”
Speaking of returning players, fifth-year senior center Kassidy De Lapp poured in an amazing performance in her first game under Hoyt’s game plan as she was 100% from the field 6-for-6 and the free-throw line 5-for-5 en route to her 16-point, nine-rebound and three-block performance in just 19 minutes off the bench.
Tuesday’s performance proved as a small sample size of things to come from the Cowgirls not only this year, but as long as Hoyt is coaching in Stillwater. The players she brought in this season to begin a new era of OSU women’s basketball can all score, and have the stats to back it up.
As previously mentioned, Alanatas has been in Hoyt’s system and for the past few years. She played well enough to earn all-conference honors the past two seasons and averaged more than 17 points per game at Kansas City.
For the other transfers, UT Arlington transfer guard Terryn Milton, UT Arlington transfer forward Claire Chastain and Arkansas State transfer forward Trinitee Jackson file in as fifth-year seniors. All three transfers have over 600 points in their career, with Milton achieving 1,000-point status, and all started last year for their former programs. Villanova transfer forward Lior Garzon and Southwestern Oklahoma State transfer forward Makyra Tramble also bring something to offer as Garzon was listed on the Cheryl Miller award watchlist for the best small forward in the country and Tramble comes to OSU as the D-II player of the year from a year ago averaging 20 points per game.
Hoyt said she has too many deserving players and not enough starting spots, but it seems the team is not complaining, they are ready to win.
“I think we are going to mesh really well,” Milton said. “It’s really fun playing with them, like Mimie (Alnatas), she’s a scorer, Taylen (Collins) is a scorer, Claire (Chastain) is a scorer. So, it’s really cool and I think that I can assist well and score well so I think I can play well with everybody.”