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NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament: OSU-Purdue game moved to an 8 p.m. start

Original game time at 6:30 p.m. — but later start is just fine with Purdue coach Sharon Versyp, who is expecting a big home crowd.
By Clyde Hughes, For The Oklahoman Published: March 23, 2014
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photo - Oklahoma State head coach Jim Littell answers a question during an NCAA college basketball tournament news conference in West Lafayette, Ind., Sunday, March 23, 2014. Oklahoma State faces Purdue in a second round game on Monday. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Oklahoma State head coach Jim Littell answers a question during an NCAA college basketball tournament news conference in West Lafayette, Ind., Sunday, March 23, 2014. Oklahoma State faces Purdue in a second round game on Monday. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The Oklahoma State women's basketball team's matchup with the Purdue Boilermakers has been moved to primetime by ESPN2, going with an 8 p.m. (Oklahoma time) start rather than its scheduled 6:30 p.m. slot.

That's fine by Purdue's coach Sharon Versyp, who is expecting a big home crowd. The Boilermakers averaged 8,170 fans this year, and Purdue's gate ranked No. 7 among NCAA Division I schools last year.

“I think that's great,” Versyp said about the later start time. “I think it's great for us and Oklahoma State. I think that (8) p.m. start time is primetime. They have talked this game up, if we got to this. They have done it in all the national papers and well as ESPNW. That's all they talked about, so they moved it for a good reason.”

For Cowgirls coach Jim Littell, at least it's better than the 10 a.m. start time his team had for the game vs. Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday.

“Our kids' night maybe starts at 9 o'clock, so that may be the best time for us,” Littell said with a laugh. “It is what it is, and I'm not going to worry about things I can't control. We can't control what time we play. We can control how we play and what our effort and energy level is about.”

Littell added, though, that (8) p.m. is getting close to his bedtime.

“Now coaches at my age, that's a little bit late to be out at night so I hope I'm OK,” Littell said. “I'm a little more worried about me than I am our kids.”

LAST YEAR'S DUKE GAME STILL HAUNTS OSU

When the Cowgirls take the floor against Purdue on Monday, last year's second-round game at Duke won't be far from their minds.

It's not that the No. 21-ranked Cowgirls will be dwelling on last year's lost that denied them a Sweet 16 bid, but using the lessons of that game in beating the No. 17-ranked Boilermakers. Oklahoma State lost a double-digit lead in the closing minutes before falling to the Blue Devils 68-59 after beating DePaul 73-56 in the first round at Durham, N.C., a year ago.

“We just got to be patient,” OSU’s Brittany Martin said Sunday. “We have to relax. We can't play scared like we did last year. I thought we looked nervous, and we looked like we were in a panic. I think this year, or last year really, taught us that we need to be patient. We need to run our offense and when we get in a different situation that we're not familiar with, we need to learn how to come out of those instead of coming out like we did that year.”

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