Three things to watch for: OSU vs. Iowa State

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OSU coach Jim Littell looks on during the Oklahoma State vs. TCU women's basketball game on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater.

The Oklahoma State women’s basketball team (12-9 overall, 3-6 Big 12) is coming off its third straight loss against a scorching hot Texas Tech team that went 20-for-31 from beyond the arc. Now the Cowgirls take on an Iowa State team they narrowly fell to just a few weeks ago.

 

Natasha Mack’s impact

The last time these two teams played, Natasha Mack went down four minutes into the game. With Mack exiting the game early, ISU (12-8, 4-5) box-and-oned Vivian Gray and limited her to 12 points, which was her second-lowest point total of the season. With so much defensive attention on Gray, Kassidy De Lapp dominated one-on-one matchups in the post and scored a career-high 21 points — but that was with Mack out of the picture. This time, the shot-denying, double-double machine will look to have her imprints all over this game.

 

The Vivian Gray game plan

The Cyclones honed in on Gray and forced the Cowgirls to beat them from deep. It was basically the perfect game plan, but would it have been if Mack didn’t go out early? The interesting thing about ISU’s game plan is that it committed to the box-and-one before Mack went down with injury. Now the question is: how did the Cyclones hope to contain the Cowgirls’ other star forward? Leaving Mack on all those one-on-one matchups could have been deadly. If the Cyclones stick to that same blueprint, things could go haywire.

 

The 3-point line

Well, don’t actually watch the literal 3-point line — but the shooting from deep will be crucial in this game. Last time out, the Cyclones packed the paint and forced OSU to beat them from deep — the result was a 2-for-18 shooting day on 3-pointers. And on the other side, the Cowgirls played tremendous defense, but they were susceptible to the deep ball as ISU shot 6-for-14 on its attempts. The other side of the coin is, the Cowgirls have been shooting much better as of late. If they can space the floor properly, they will have a supreme advantage.

sports.ed@ocolly.com