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Waking up against Wake Forest

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Baylor Oklahoma St Basketball

Oklahoma State forward Natasha Mack, right, shoots over Baylor center Queen Egbo, left, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in Waco, Texas. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald, via AP)

The Cowgirl basketball offense woke up on Sunday afternoon.

Oklahoma State defeated Wake Forest 84-61 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on the strength of its shooting. The Cowgirls shot 53.8% from the field and knocked down nearly 40% of their 3-point attempts.

As has been the case the entire season, OSU forward Natasha Mack was the one boosting statistics all across the board. Mack, who is making her final push with the Cowgirls before the WNBA draft finished with 27 points, 15 rebounds, 4 blocks and 2 steals.

“She came to play and was virtually unstoppable. She wasn’t worried about double teams; she was going to score before the double team got to her,” OSU coach Jim Littell said.

The Demon Deacons couldn’t keep up with the offensive surge the Cowgirls had in the second quarter. OSU had 27 points in the frame, making 11-19 shots and 4-7 3-pointers. It was the big momentum shifter in the game, as the Cowgirls turned a tied game into one they led by 13.

“I thought the second quarter was as good as we’ve played all season long, both on the offensive end and defensive end. We knocked a lot of balls loose, we disrupted what they were doing offensively and that was one of the better quarters we’ve had,” Littell said.

The strong shooting second quarter and entire game is coming on the heels of OSU’s abysmal day from the field in the Big 12 Tournament against West Virginia where the Cowgirls shot 31.6 from the field and 10.5 % from three.

The OSU offense woke up in a mighty way from that game against the Mountaineers, but it will need to stay that way when the Cowgirls will, in all likelihood, take on the top-seeded Stanford Cardinals on Tuesday.

The thing the Cowgirls can take solace in is that their star isn’t ready for a trip back to Stillwater.

“(Mack) is not ready to go home, she wants to keep playing,” Littell said. “She’s been inspirational the last two or three days in practice in just telling the kids how it’s going to be and then she backs it.”