STILLWATER — Oklahoma State women’s basketball coach Jim Littell has a go-to saying when his team faces adversity during the regular season:
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
But as his No. 18-ranked Cowgirls enter the postseason having lost five of their past 10, he’s throwing that ideology out the window.
“It does become a sprint,” Littell said. “It’s to that point now that it’s one-and-done time.”
It starts Saturday, when four-seed OSU opens the Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship against five-seed Iowa State. Tip is at 11 a.m. at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
For the Cowgirls (22-7, 11-7 Big 12), inconsistency has marred the past several weeks. OSU hasn’t won or lost more than one consecutive game since January.
Among the negatives has been lackluster shooting. In the Cowgirls’ loss at Texas on Monday, OSU shot only 35.4 percent.
Starting guard Brittney Martin went 2-of-11. Other Cowgirls, such as forward Liz Donohoe, have struggled finding a reliable rhythm.
If the Cowgirls want to make run in the tournament, Littell said that must change.
“This time of year, your main people have got to get their numbers,” Littell said. “It can’t be a deal if you’re averaging 12 a game, I’m going to go get four. That’s not going to work this time of year.”
Defensively, the Cowgirls will have their hands full against Iowa State.
The Cyclones are a small team with a knack for the 3-pointer. When Iowa State beat OSU in Stillwater on Feb. 26, the Cyclones (20-9, 9-9) drained 15 3s.
After that experience, point guard Tiffany Bias and the Cowgirls are primed with adjustments.
“Our defense was awful last time,” Bias said. “We have to run them off 3s, make them put it on the floor and make them turn the ball over. That’s our biggest key, is playing defense.”
The Cowgirls are also looking to bring the game into the lane.
“I need to work on getting to the basket more,” Martin said. “I settle for a lot of jump shots. We need to shoot free throws, and I barely shoot two a game.
“We really have been trying to focus on posting people up.”
And with Bias — an All-Big 12 first-team selection — leading the charge in her senior season, Littell is not the only one set on cranking up the intensity.
“I’m really focused,” Bias said.
“This is pretty much a new season for us.”