For a team picked near the bottom of the conference, the best conference record in school history has proved the doubters wrong.
When Oklahoma State defeated Iowa State 80-73 on Saturday, the Cowgirls’ ended the Cyclones three-game winning streak in Stillwater. The Cowgirls also picked up another Big 12 win, adding to the school record for conference wins.
Iowa State (14-9 overall, 13-4 conference) was third. With the loss, they sit at fourth in the conference standings.
The Cowgirls (17-6, 13-4) were picked eighth or ninth in preseason conference polls, and nobody expected them to be third with a shot at second place, but that’s the reality. OSU coach Jim Littell said not even himself, his staff or his players would have guessed it.
“It’s really special,” Littell said. “We’ve had a lot of really good teams here. We’ve had kids that have played in the WNBA and overseas.”
Littell is the winningest coach in school history, and has had teams with more talent. The Cowgirls had three future draft picks in Toni Young, Tiffany Bias and Brittany Martin on the 2012-13 team, and that team went 9-9 in conference. The following year, the Cowgirls went 11-7 in conference play with a team that went to the Sweet 16.
Those might have been the two best teams Littell has had, but neither did what this year’s team has done. The Cowgirls have swept five teams this season and split with the rest with a game remaining against Baylor.
“These kids didn’t put any limitations on what they could accomplish,” Littell said. “It just goes to show that if you like the people you’re around on a daily basis, and you’ve got the same goal to push together in the right way, there’s no limitations for kids.”
Ja’Mee Asberry finished with 21 points for the Cowgirls. She was a part of the last team to reach the NCAA tournament in 2018, which went 11-7 in conference and featured 18th pick Loryn Goodwin. Asberry said that team and this team never got too worked up.
“We don’t get too high or get too low,” Asberry said. “We really just do what we’re supposed to do, and the results are showing on the court.”
Senior Natasha Mack was big again scoring 24 points and blocking six shots. Mack will most likely get her first opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament.
Mack is the star on this team. She is projected to go top 10 in the upcoming WNBA draft and be the next great to come out of Stillwater under Littell. However, Mack and her teammates have accomplished something this season that none of the other teams and players could.
“We know each other's weaknesses and strengths, which helps a lot,” Mack said. “The chemistry is there.”