Report card: OSU v. West Virginia

1D6A2048.jpg

Natasha Mack shoots a fadeaway over Esmery Martinez for two of her 23 points during Oklahoma State's 60-57 win against West Virginia in Gallagher-Iba Arena on February 8, 2020. 

The Oklahoma State women’s basketball team (13-10 overall, 4-7 Big 12) came up clutch - for a second time - against West Virginia in a 60-57 victory. Here’s how they graded out.

 

Scoring/Shot selection: C+

West Virginia’s (14-7, 4-6) defense is tough, no doubt about that. They rotate and help well, and know when/how to double. In a game like that, with so many bodies flying around, the Cowgirls got to the free-throw line 29 times — but only made 17. That’s 58.6%. In a game where easy shots are hard to come by, it’s even more vital to hit those freebies. OSU struggled to do that, especially in the first half. On the entire game, the Cowgirls shot 33% from the field.

 

Passing/Ball security: A

Once again, the Cowgirls did a remarkable job taking care of the ball while still making the right passes. They turned the ball over only eight times - their second-lowest mark of the season - but spread the rock around and played unselfish ball. Coach Jim Littell has stressed the importance of being careful with the ball and valuing possessions — the Cowgirls did that against West Virginia.

 

Rebounding: B-

The Cowgirls are obviously missing Kassidy De Lapp’s size and strength down low — but not as much as they could be. Abbie Winchester and Bigue Sarr have picked up much of the slack, but OSU’s depth is being tested. Rebounding is a team effort, it requires everyone to box out. On Saturday, WVU was able to send free runners in to grab boards way too often. The result? The Mountaineers held a 51-36 advantage on the boards.

 

Defense: A

Defense, defense, defense. OSU can hang its hat on its defense once again. The Cowgirls forced 21 turnovers, but it was Natasha Mack’s seven blocks that showed us why their defense is so dominant. Not just because that’s a high number, but it’s a key part of this defensive system. The Cowgirls pressure the ball well - which can sometimes leave someone susceptible to getting beat off the dribble - but Mack’s ability to help off the weak side and reject shots allows the whole thing to work seamlessly.

 

Overall: B+

The Cowgirls were down two points going into the fourth, and - once again - OSU’s fate rested in the last period of the game. With a few minutes left, WVU had a five-point lead, the Cowgirls went a little cold and it felt like the same story all over again: late-game antics. Then Ja’Mee Asberry - who had struggled for much of the contest - made some clutch plays late in the game to take the lead and seal this win. The Cowgirls stepped up when it counted most, and that’s what allowed them to win.

sports.ed@ocolly.com