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Beating the Bears: OSU has its toughest challenge saved for last

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Mack fouled

Natasha Mack is fouled on a shot attempt during Oklahoma State's game vs Baylor on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics

Breaking a record isn’t supposed to be easy, but for the Cowgirls, it cannot get much harder.

Oklahoma State will have one more chance on Wednesday to extend its single-season conference win record — this time to 14. That opportunity comes on the road against No. 7 Baylor.

“Baylor is going to win it’s umpteenth conference championship in a row,” coach Jim Littell said. “They are a daunting challenge, as they are every year.”

Road teams have not fared well in Waco this season. Baylor is 9-1 when playing at home, with its one defeat coming by a mere four points at the hands of Iowa State.

Junior point guard Ja’mee Asberry said defeating Baylor in Waco, which has outscored its opponents by over 23 points per game in the last eight games, is the hardest thing a Big 12 team can do.

“I really applaud Iowa State that they did it,” Asberry said.

Baylor beat OSU 77-58 earlier this season in Stillwater. The rematch in OSU’s final regular season game will be difficult, but there is hope for the Cowgirls.

Although Littell has only beaten Baylor once in his 10 seasons as the OSU head coach, no team in Cowgirl history has even won more conference games than this current group.

The Cowgirls have won eight of their last nine games — including one against the same Cyclone team that felled Baylor — and have had the back half of the season to build team continuity.

“We know each other’s weaknesses and strengths, which really helps a lot,” senior forward Natasha Mack said. “The chemistry is there.”

Littell said after OSU beat ISU on Saturday that his team had grown a lot, and that the victory, which gave their 13th conference win was “as big of a win as we’ve gotten in here in a long, long time.”

Even though there might never be a great time to take on the green and gold juggernaut that Baylor coach Kim Mulkey has assembled, the Cowgirls are playing excellent basketball.

For the team that has already broken records, a win in Waco would be an excellent end to their regular season.

“That would be great win for us,” Mack said. “We would be ecstatic.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com