For coach Colin Carmichael and the Cowgirls, a painful memory could set the precedent for a fantastic one.
Oklahoma State beat South Alabama 7-0 Friday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The blowout score was equal parts unexpected and familiar.
“It’s out of left field,” Carmichael said. “We’ve been on the other side of this a couple years ago.”
There are distinct similarities between tonight’s comfortable NCAA tournament victory in the round of 32, and OSU’s less palatable round of 32 matchup in 2017.
“Duke did this to us,” Carmichael said. “We thought we were ready to go and we ran into a buzz saw. I think that’s what happened for South Alabama tonight.”
In the game against the Blue Devils, the Cowgirls were the team that lost 7-0. Duke had 22 shots against the outmatched Cowgirls that day.
The Duke team, which displayed such dominance on that November night to end OSU’s season eventually made the Final Four.
Now, the table have turned. Instead of being cut on the buzz saw, OSU is guiding it.
“Our kids were really ready,” Carmichael said. “What we told them before the game was work as hard as you possibly can, take the little bits of information about pressing to try to turn that team over and then enjoy yourself. Go smile, play and compete. And boy did they.”
OSU recorded 21 shots against the South Alabama Jaguars in their 7-0 win — a strikingly similar number to the Duke team that ended their season long ago.
The goal, then, is to keep the similarities coming. OSU did not come to the tournament to win. They came to win, win and win again.
If history manages to repeat itself, 7-0 victories in the second round are a tried-and-true path for teams headed to the Final Four.
“It’s such a good accomplishment for the team,” sophomore forward Megan Haines said. “But we really wanted to make a run in the tournament. We showed that we can, and we’re here."