Breaking down the numbers: OSU v. West Virginia

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Lauren Fields pushes the ball up court on a fast break during Oklahoma State's 60-57 win against West Virginia in Gallagher-Iba Arena on February 8, 2020.  

The Oklahoma State women’s basketball team (13-10 overall, 4-7 Big 12) came up clutch - for a second time - against West Virginia in a 60-57 victory. Here are the numbers that stuck out.

 

Lauren Fields’ plus-minus of +11

In the post-game press conference, coach Jim Littell brought Lauren Fields’ name up maybe 17 times — but she didn’t have a crazy statistical game. But still, Fields’ impact was immense. She played tremendous defense - as she has all year long - and her effort level was off the charts. Fields played 33 minutes off the bench, third-highest total on the team. Fields held the highest plus-minus on her team, but she made the incognito plays that can’t be measured in numbers. Fields gave this team a spark they sorely needed it.

 

Natasha Mack’s 23 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks

Seven blocks and it’s almost not even surprising, which speaks to the high standard Natasha Mack has set. The double-double machine continues to dominate, but her contributions came on a night where Vivian Gray struggled to play up to her usual gold standard. Mack went 10-for-15 from the field, which is extra impressive considering the type of shots she was hitting — many of them were contested baseline jumpers. Mack continued to swat shots a prodigious rate and secured boards for OSU. It was another elite performance from the junior forward.

 

The 21-8 turnover margin

The Cowgirls don’t have an explosive offense, but they play within the constraints of what they have. Part of that formula is to take care of the ball and make smart decisions. OSU did that on Saturday as it had almost no “bad” turnovers, which are turnovers that are out in the open and allow the opposing team to push the ball down the court for an easy basket. As they’ve done most of the season, the Cowgirls forced a ton of turnovers and valued their possessions, which resulted in a win.

 

16 fastbreak points 

It was a grinded out, low scoring affair where points were hard to come by. In those sort of games, transition points are so crucial. The Cowgirls forced 21 turnovers and had 10 steals, which allowed them to push the ball on the break and attack a defense that isn’t set — that’s the best way to attack a strong defense. OSU did a great job opportunistically getting out on the break, which helped it win the game.

 

OSU shooting 17-for-29 on its free throws

Similar to the fastbreak points, the free throw shooting was equally important. Against this stout WVU defense, the Cowgirls were not going to get many good looks. To combat that, free-throw shooting needed to be on point. In the first half they went 0-for-8 from the charity stripe line … not good. They corrected that in the second going 17-for-21, which was huge, especially late in the game when Ja’Mee Asberry hit some free throws late to seal the game.

sports.ed@ocolly.com