WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — After its harrowing 61-60 overtime win against Florida Gulf Coast in the first round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Saturday at Mackey Arena, Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said Monday's second round contest might be even tougher.
The No. 21-ranked Cowgirls will take on No. 17-ranked Purdue on the Boilermakers' home floor and one of the loudest home women's crowds in all of college basketball.
“This is a game that everyone has got to play well,” Littell said at Oklahoma State's Sunday morning news conference. “We play a very solid basketball team that has a lot of weapons, they're very physical, and they got great size, so we can't have one person on or two people on. We got to have everybody at the top of their game.”
Littell added, though, he believes his squad matches up better against Purdue than the free-wheeling, guard-heavy offense it faced with Florida Gulf Coast.
“Do we match up with (Purdue) better? Probably,” Littell said. “Do our personnel fit their personnel better? Probably. And I heard their assistant coach that did the (scouting report) after the game say the same thing that I'm saying now, that we probably match up better with Oklahoma State than we would with Florida Gulf Coast.
“So in this game, a lot of times it comes down to matchups, and I think it's two teams that match up pretty well,” Littell continued.
Cowgirls Tiffany Bias and Brittany Martin said Big 12 arenas like Iowa State have well prepared them to go into hostile environments like Mackey Arena.
“Iowa State has the biggest fan base I've ever seen,” Martin said Sunday. “You can't hear anything in that gym. It's really loud. It scared me the first time I went there to be honest. But I think it’s fun to play with crowds like that, especially when they're against you. When you make a basket, it's silent. It's fun to be in that atmosphere.”
Bias said she believed her teammates have adjusted to big crowds with each game and don't think the opposing crowd will be a factor.
“I think we have all played in a lot of gyms like that, where I think we're accustomed to having not hearing plays,” Bias said. “I think that we have gotten better over the years and the season. So I think it will be a test, but I think that we have dealt with it before, so we'll be OK.”
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