Moments after tipoff, Clitan de Sousa pulled up from the right corner.
The ball fell smoothly through the net and served as foreshadowing as she was about to have the best game of her career in the Oklahoma State women’s basketball team’s 74-58 win against Texas Tech, Wednesday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
De Sousa, a senior guard, scored a career high 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Her game-opening 3-point shot was the first of three she made.
OSU (15-12 overall, 6-9 Big 12) trailed at halftime despite a quick start, but de Sousa helped the Cowgirls rally.
TTU (16-10, 5-10) held de Sousa to nine in the first half, but she nearly matched her career high in the second.
Her 14 second-half points helped OSU turn around a 34-30 halftime deficit.
De Sousa was quick to credit her teammates for her performance.
“Ja’Mee (Asberry had) really good passes to me,” de Sousa said. “When (Asberry) plays fast, I can play fast as well. So, it helps me a lot the way she plays.”
De Sousa hit her third 3-point shot from the left corner with just over 3 minutes left in the game, bringing the crowd to its feet as the Cowgirls pulled away. OSU led 69-55 after that shot.
With 46 seconds left, de Sousa rebounded a miss from TTU’s Andrayah Adams. That was her 13th, beating her previous high of 12. Six were offensive rebounds, which broke her previous high in that category of four.
TTU coach Marlene Stollings said de Sousa was a hungry rebounder.
“I thought that she was flying in there, and she really made a commitment to going and getting rebounds for (OSU),” Stollings said. “We clearly didn’t box her out well, and we didn’t defend her well one-on-one. She broke us down quite a bit.”
De Sousa added a block, steal and assist to cap off her stand-out performance.
OSU coach Jim Littell said de Sousa was spectacular.
“She was flying around all night long getting put backs, offensive rebounds, getting her team second-chance opportunities,” Littell said. “She lifted out of the corner and hit some big shots when they tried to double-team Vivian (Gray). We’ve been really searching for some people to come up and be that third and fourth scorer, and (de Sousa) really answered tonight.”
Before this game, De Sousa’s best scoring performances came in OSU’s two games against Oklahoma earlier this season. She had 15 in each. Her previous high in rebounding came against TCU on Jan. 29.
De Sousa said she needed to step up because every win is vital with OSU fighting for a potential NCAA tournament bid.
“As a senior, I felt that I had a responsibility and I had to do my part because my team needed me,” de Sousa said. “I tried to give my best because I only have three more games in the regular season. So, I’m trying to just make my coaches proud and myself proud, as well.”