Tiffany Bias was the glue that held Oklahoma State together last season. This year, though, the Cowgirls will have to learn to cope without their star point guard. Bias, who led the team in scoring and assists a season ago, is now gone to the WNBA.
“It’s really different,” Roshunda Johnson said. “She was the leader of the team last year. But now that she’s gone we have other people stepping up. We all just come as one and we have to be leaders now that she’s gone. It’s a big factor, but it’s all working together.”
Filling in the shoes of Bias will fall on the shoulders of Johnson.
Johnson averaged 5.5 points in 22 minutes and started in six games last season. Her most impressive numbers of the season came when it mattered most, in the NCAA Tournament. She scored a personal-best 16 points in a win over Purdue to help the Cowgirls advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
Johnson acknowledges the magnitude of the task of taking over for Bias. But she feels she’s ready for it. She says that the two talk on the phone weekly, and Bias is full of advice for the young point guard.
Still, what she learned most came firsthand last season, when she was able to sit back and marvel at Bias’s work, taking mental notes to prepare herself for an inevitable increased role.
“It is a really big factor,” Johnson said. “You’re coming in as a freshman and doing as much as I did, it was good. I got a feeling of what the Big 12 was like and now I’m going to run the show.”
Coach Littell said he likes what he has seen thus far from Johnson in the preseason, noting that she is probably one of the most improved returning players.
“I don’t know that it’s fair to expect Ro’ to step in and do the things that Tiffany Bias did as a senior,” Littell said. “But I’ve been very pleased with Ro’ and how she developed in the offseason. She has the ability to be a scoring point guard, she shoots the ball extremely well, her handles are good. It’s just that matter of being consistent on a daily basis and bringing that intensity level that we got out of Tiffany Bias.”
Johnson said she made a point to improve her defense and trying to balance the act of being both a scorer and floor general.
“I think I’ve took a huge step,” Johnson said. “I think everybody will see a whole lot of improvement in me and my team. I feel like I’m able to run the team now, I’m talking more and being a leader.”