Riley, Cowgirls on a roll
Don’t let OSU women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke get you on a golf course. Budke is turning into the ultimate sandbagger. Despite a 4-0 start, highlighted by wins over Texas A&M and Oklahoma, last year’s top two teams in the conference, Budke maintains most teams in the Big 12 have more talent than the Cowgirls. He warns the conference is so tough any team could compile a lot of losses in a hurry.
I agree the Big 12 is extremely tough, without question the most competitive conference in America. Last week 10 of the 12 teams were either ranked in the top 25 or were receiving votes. But Budke’s claim that his team isn’t nearly as talented as most conference rivals smells of a golf sandbagger.
Budke claims Texas has more Parade All-Americans and several other teams have players who were listed higher in recruiting rankings. Former OSU men’s coach Eddie Sutton proved time and time again you don’t need McDonald’s All-Americans and four-star recruits to win basketball games.
It’s early in the conference race. Baylor, with a strong, balanced lineup, probably is the team to beat following the Bears win Sunday in Norman. But the Cowgirls, off to a 4-0 league start, should make some noise. Their roster has everything you need to be in most every game the remainder of the season.
Sophomore point guard Andrea Riley currently is one of the top players in America. She leads the conference in scoring, averaging close to 23 points. She’s hitting big shots. She’s so quick she gives opposing coaches headaches trying to figure out how to guard her. Danielle Green is a slash-to-the-goal, create her own shot complement to Riley. Senior Maria Cordero is capable of some big games. Taylor Hardeman is a defensive minded glue player similar to Daniel Bobik on the men’s Final Four team a few years ago. Sophomore transfer Meagan Byford is developing into a rugged inside post player. Kristin Hernandez is a true freshman capable of providing help off the bench. Shanute Smith is a veteran who averages 7.0 points and 7.0 rebounds.
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