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Cowgirl defense just good enough in an offensive game

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Natasha Mack

Natasha Mack plays defense during Oklahoma State Women Basketball's victory over North Texas on December 22, 2020.

When someone who has been coaching basketball since 1978 drops a nugget of hoops knowledge, it’s best to get the notepad out.

OSU women’s basketball coach Jim Littell, whose coaching career began 42 years ago at Oxford High School in Kansas, dropped a piece of knowledge after OSU’s 82-68 defeat of UNT.

“The hardest thing to guard in the game is the dribble drive,” Littell said.

The dribble drive was even harder for the Cowgirls to defend when UNT’s Quincy Noble and N’Yah Boyd were doing the dribbling and the driving.

Noble finished the game with 16 points and Boyd scored 20.

“I really like North Texas’ guards,” Littell said. “They’re really good off the bounce… Boyd and Quincy Noble, they’re both a handful.”

Although both Mean Green players are skilled scorers, Littell thinks their combined big night was also caused by a subpar defensive effort by the Cowgirls.

“We didn’t guard very well tonight,” Littell said. “(UNT) got in the paint a lot of times and got a lot of easy baskets.”

Although it might not have been a defensive night worthy of hanging a banner, the Cowgirls still got the job done. They did enough defensively to win the game.

Although the Cowgirls couldn’t count on Natasha Mack scoring a career-high 31 points to lead OSU’s offensive explosion, they were still calculated on where to expend their effort defensively.

Littell said he knew going into the game the Cowgirls couldn’t let Noble score 30 points, as she had done against Louisiana. In that sense, the Cowgirls did their job defensively, forcing the Mean Green to use the back of their roster to generate points.

Although the Cowgirl defense wasn’t perfect, the team shot 56% from the field and scored enough points to where the defense didn’t have to be immaculate to get a win.

“We got to get better between the 27th and January 2nd to compete in our league, but I think our kids will,” Littell said.

sports.ed@ocolly.com