Jim Littell has preached collectivity.
Littell, Oklahoma State's women's basketball coach, tried to instill this principle in his team this past offseason.
With the losses of Natasha Mack and Ja’Mee Asberry, this year's edition of Cowgirls does not have a star to fall back on when they need a tough bucket or a big-time block on the inside. However, with a roster of formidable role players, they'll need to come together to find success.
“We’ve got to play a different way," Littell said. "We don’t have that shot blocker in the middle, so now when someone gets around you, you’ve got to step in and take a charge. Instead of having someone get 20 and someone get 18 you got to have five or six kids get 12-18 points, and that’s what makes coaching fun, finding a different way to win."
Despite this emphasis, trying to play collectively has been shaky this season. The Cowgirls came out flat in a loss to Colorado in the season opener. Only two of the players in OSU’s rotation were able to reach double digits, with Lexy Keys having 16 and Lauren Fields scoring 17.
“We’ve got to have some players who have done it in the past step up and be aggressive," Littell said. "We cannot have complimentary players as starters this year, they’ve got to be a part of scoring points and getting rebounds."
Against SMU, the team came out and executed coach Littell’s vision, with five players scoring over eight points against the Mustangs, leading to a 17-point victory on the road for the Cowgirls. OSU played cohesively on offense and defense, seeing a huge increase in the number of points scored from the first game to the second.
The cohesion on both sides of the ball is what can push this Cowgirls team to another level.
“I think some teams can say ‘we pride ourselves on offense’ or ‘we pride ourselves on defense’ I think this year we really have to pride ourselves on both sides," Keys said. "I think our biggest thing right now on offense is transition. I think if we can get out and run the ball in transition, we will be really hard to stop, and like I said, we have to do it collectively on both sides of the ball."