Oklahoma State basketball: Cowgirls to test Duke's NCAA Tournament home win streak

The Blue Devils are getting ready for a major test from an Oklahoma State team that is capable of matching Duke's high-powered offense.
By JOEDY McCREARY, AP Sports Writer Published: March 25, 2013
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photo - Oklahoma State's Tiffany Bias (3) passes as DePaul's Jasmine Penny (31) defends during the first half of a first-round game in the women's NCAA college basketball tournament in Durham, N.C., Sunday March 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome) ORG XMIT: NCGB117
Oklahoma State's Tiffany Bias (3) passes as DePaul's Jasmine Penny (31) defends during the first half of a first-round game in the women's NCAA college basketball tournament in Durham, N.C., Sunday March 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome) ORG XMIT: NCGB117

— Duke is always tough to beat at Cameron Indoor Stadium — especially in the NCAA women's tournament.

Still, the Blue Devils are getting ready for a major test from an Oklahoma State team that is capable of matching Duke's high-powered offense.

Second-seeded Duke (31-2) puts its 17-game home winning streak in tournament games on the line Tuesday night against the seventh-seeded Cowgirls (22-10) in the second round of the Norfolk Regional.

Oklahoma State forward Toni Young said Monday that the key is getting off to a good start and “keeping that burst throughout the whole game.”

That's not as easy as it might appear.

Duke is 19-2 in NCAA Tournament games at home and hasn't lost one since 1996, and no team not named Connecticut has come into Cameron and beat the Blue Devils since 2008.

A win over Oklahoma State will cap Duke's fourth undefeated home season in school history and make the Blue Devils 16-0 there. Because there's just one senior on the roster — backup center Allison Vernerey — their focus won't be on sentiment but on finding a way to keep themselves rolling into the Norfolk Regional semifinals next week.

“They can score at five different positions,” Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said. “They're very experienced, they're long, they're athletic, they keep people out of the paint. … They know how to play the game. They don't run plays — they read, they react to what the defense does.”

At least his Cowgirls can say they won a game at the famous arena — they did beat DePaul there Sunday in a first-round game, a couple of hours after Duke dispatched Hampton.

Now comes an even tougher job: handling the Blue Devils there, in a matchup of teams that seem capable of pushing the tempo and giving the scoreboard a workout.

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