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Despite Gray's success, Cowgirls fail to cope with No. 2 Baylor

WBB OSU vs. Baylor

Vivian Gray lines up with the other Cowgirls to say good game to the Baylor Lady Bears after the OSU Cowgirls played against the Baylor Lady Bears on Feb. 15, 2020 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Vivian Gray furiously clapped her hands to try and get the ball back.

In Oklahoma State women’s basketball’s 69-42 loss against No. 2 Baylor, the Cowgirls needed everything to go their way. What they got was far from perfect.

Gray hustled down the floor to set up a good shot opportunity, but needed to evade a defender to shoot. A quick bump and pass sent her defender to the ground. Gray immediately began to ask for the ball again. The OSU offense was running a different play. 

By the time the ball got back to her, the opportunity was gone. She shot a contested 3-pointer that rattled out. The frustration showed on the Cowgirls’ faces a few minutes later.  

Gray managed to score 19 points in the loss. Among the rest of the Cowgirls, only Natasha Mack and Bryn Gerlich scored more than three points. Even though she did not struggle, Gray found things to improve.

“Looking at the stat sheet, I had six turnovers,” Gray said. “I knew I had a lot, but that is not very good at all. Points wise, I mean I was fine, but the turnovers just got me. And I think I could have played better defense on Landrum tonight.”  

As the final minutes ticked away, Gallagher-Iba Arena was near silent. 

“Not real happy the way we played tonight,” OSU coach Jim Littell said. “I thought we had some people play a little bit on the intimidated side and you can’t do that against Baylor. I mean, they just smell it when you get that way and they’re going to come after you.”

Baylor (23-1 overall, 12-0 Big 12) made the Cowgirls earn every point. The Bears never trailed. The defense against Mack was the reason why.

Mack shot 3-for-12 and scored seven points. OSU (14-11, 5-8) did not find a way to replace her usual production.

“They just had a lot of length on her,” Littell said. “They blocked one early and I just talked to Natasha about that. I thought she got real tentative and started moving outside. She has got that as part of her game, but that isn’t what we need. That isn’t the main substance of her game.”

OSU fouled 16 times leading to 17 Baylor free throws. The Bears made 14, good for 82%. 

“We’re not very good from the free throw line, or we have not been,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “There are games when we certainly have been, but it’s important to us. If we’re going to make a run here, and try to win this league again and try to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, you have got to step up there and make free throws.” 

While Baylor was efficient, the Cowgirls were not. OSU finished the game shooting 29.6% from the field. 

“We take a lot of pride in our defense,” Mulkey said. “…Going into the fourth quarter, they had only scored nine points a quarter. That’s guarding people.”