TEMPE, Ariz. — Toni Young kept leaping above Chattanooga players Saturday night to launch jump shots. She was open every time.
Some players get open horizontally. Young gets open vertically.
"Sometimes she’s about two feet above people when she’s shooting the basketball,” said Oklahoma State coach Kurt Budke. "She’s a tough matchup.”
It’s not just that Young is 6-foot-2. She’s 6-2 with leaping ability that tied the national high school high jump record (6-foot-4) last season at Del City.
Young’s emergence has given the Cowgirls a much-needed third scorer in this NCAA Tournament, which continues with an OSU-Georgia game at 8:40 (Oklahoma time) tonight. Young scored 22 points on Chattanooga and has averaged 10.7 points the last 13 games.
Andrea Riley (26.6) and Tegan Cunningham (16.5) give the Cowgirls a potent 1-2 scoring combo. Add another scorer, and the complexion of this team changes.
"To advance in this tournament, you have to have a minimum of three players scoring in double figures every night,” Budke said. "The teams that make a deep run, you see them with four or five double-figure scorers.”
Young is a rare player. Sleek and smooth in a tall body. Her jumper from 12-15 feet has become dependable. Which is strange.
"I kind of just now developed a jumpshot,” Young said. "I never jumped in high school, because I was always taller than everybody.