KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Their basketball season on the line, the Oklahoma State Cowgirls found a sense of urgency with about eight minutes left in the game.
Too bad they didn’t start a minute sooner.
Last-place Missouri, which went 2-16 in conference play, stunned OSU 72-68 Wednesday night in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament, likely torpedoing the Cowgirls’ NCAA Tournament hopes.
OSU trailed 59-34 with 12:12 left in the game but closed within 71-68 with 21.2 seconds left.
“We got some fire under our belt, and we decided to play and relax,” said OSU point guard Tiffany Bias, who said it “sucks” that the Cowgirls waited so long to find a fighting spirit.
“I think the whole game we were kind of just playing timid and not really playing our game.”
Missouri attacked the paint early, then resorted to 3-point shooting to bust open the game. Christine Flores scored 24 points for Mizzou, and Morgan Eye added 16. Eagle Eye is more like it; she sank four of five 3-point shots.
“We didn’t guard,” said OSU coach Jim Littell. “Give them credit, but we didn’t guard like we have guarded the last four or five games. Really don’t understand that when we get in this setting.”
Missouri made 45.3 percent of its shots. “For most of the year, we’ve held people (around) 30 percent,” Littell said. “And we’re not going to win when we allow somebody to score that many points. We just don’t have the ability to match that offensively.”