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Feeding off the beast: Taylen Collins has her best game of the year

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Taylen Collins

Taylen Collins shoots a fadeaway against Iowa State on February 20, 2021 at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Sometimes it’s best to feed the beast, other times it’s best to feed off the beast.

Taylen Collins, a freshman forward at Oklahoma State, played well off of her frontcourt teammate and All-American candidate Natasha Mack in Saturday’s 80-73 victory over Iowa State.

“When (ISU) went and doubled (Mack), a lot of times it was (Collins’) man and she got to the backside and Mack found her a couple of times,” OSU coach Jim Littell said. “(Collins) just played with a high maturity level and got where we needed her to get and took advantage of playing with an All-American.”

Mack leads the team in rebounding by a wide margin, but on Saturday, the Cowgirls second-leading rebounder, Collins, got the better of her teammate. Collins outrebounded Mack 7-4.

“It’s amazing, I have no complaints about it as long as the job gets done,” Mack said.

“It’s actually great to see somebody who can keep paving the way when I’m gone.”

The uptick in rebounds also came because Collins played with a different mentality on Saturday.

“I thought she’d had some freshman times lately where she was a little bit tentative, and it was a whole different level of aggressive play for her getting on the boards,” Littell said.

Collins was tasked with primarily guarding Ashley Joens, the Big 12’s leading scorer. Joens averages 23.6 points per game, and she dropped exactly 23 against OSU.

“Ashley Joens for Iowa State is an animal,” Littell said. “That’s good holding her to (23 points), especially when they were going to her every time down the floor.”

Collins played over 30 minutes in one of the most important games OSU has played all season. Littell said it was her best game of the season.

“She just battled and played hard and played beyond her years today,” Littell said.

sports.ed@ocolly.com