STILLWATER — Megan Byford remembers watching the fans steadily flood into Gallagher-Iba Arena five years ago, the Bedlam crowd growing exponentially each time Oklahoma State returned to the floor for pregame warm-ups.
By the time she ran to the scorer's table to sub in for the first time, it was too loud to hear much of anything.
“I stood up, and there was so much adrenaline pumping,” Byford recalled. “You're just like, ‘Whoa, get it together. Don't pass out. Calm down.'
“Once the game started and we got in the flow of the game, it was just … amazing.”
What followed was a masterful performance by Andrea Riley and a landmark win for the Cowgirls, an 82-63 rout of sixth-ranked Oklahoma for a program that had gone winless in Big 12 play just two years prior.
Saturday's Bedlam matchup between the No. 23 Cowgirls and Sooners won't feature the same fanfare of a sold-out crowd or star power of OSU's Riley and OU's Paris sisters. But with the Stillwater contest essentially serving as a five-year anniversary of that game, it's a worthy time to revisit what turned out to be a watershed moment for Cowgirl basketball.
“It changed the program,” Byford said. “It kind of made a statement of, ‘Hey, we're not the whipping dog of the Big 12 anymore. We're going to come and we're going to fight every game. Don't overlook us.'
“I think that's the main thing — nobody was going to overlook us anymore.”
The OSU victory broke a 17-game winning streak for the Sooners in the series and caused Cowgirl fans to storm the court. Riley finished with 45 points and zero turnovers, using a blend of fancy dribble-drives to the basket and outside shots to reach that total.
And that was the day late coach Kurt Budke infamously broke out the bright orange blazer.
“It's going to be one of the greatest moments of my life,” Riley said last month. “Just having (a sold-out crowd) and feeling like that, it was amazing.”
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