STILLWATER — With 26 seconds left in overtime of the Oklahoma State Cowgirls' second-round NCAA Tournament game against Florida State, Lyndle Byford was proud to wear orange.
His daughter, Megan, a 6-foot-3 sophomore who transferred to OSU last summer, had just rebounded an Andrea Riley miss and converted a put-back to give the Cowgirls a three-point lead. It also set the stage for Riley's game-winning free throw that put OSU in the Sweet 16 for the second time in program history.
The Cowgirls will play LSU at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in New Orleans.
"He doesn't have any problem wearing orange now,” Megan Byford said of her father. "He came up after the game and told me how proud he was of me for being able to step up.”
Three months ago, Lyndle Byford wasn't so crazy about sporting Cowgirl colors. He was an all-Big Eight offensive lineman at Oklahoma from 1977-1982. He helped lead the crimson and cream to three Orange Bowl victories. His background told him orange and black represents the enemy. Lyndle Byford was trained to tackle anything wearing those colors.
So for as long as possible, he avoided wearing it.
"I always wore black to Megan's games,” he said.
But when OSU hosted Oklahoma in the first round of Bedlam on Jan. 12, Lyndle Byford finally gave in.
"I promised Megan I would wear orange for Bedlam,” Lyndle said. "When your daughter is playing, you'll do anything for her.”
Lyndle's relationship with Megan reaches far deeper than any school rivalry.
When Megan was a freshman at Bray-Doyle High School, she wanted to play Division I basketball. Her dad knew what it took and provided the push she needed to make it happen.
"He has prepared me for it,” Megan Byford said. "He has made me the best player I can be, and at the same time, kept me grounded in it.