STILLWATER — Less than a week ago, Oklahoma State jumped out to an early double-digit lead on Texas Tech, only to see it evaporate completely before halftime.
Tuesday night's contest against No. 17 Kansas started in a similar fashion, with OSU grabbing an 11-point advantage in the game's first 13 minutes.
This time, though, the No. 21 Cowgirls never let that lead slip away, rolling to a convincing 76-59 victory over the Jayhawks in a crucial Big 12 showdown between two ranked teams at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“We just really stressed with them at each media timeout, ‘You've won this four minutes, go win the next four minutes,'” OSU coach Jim Littell said. “I think it helped us to focus tonight and play one play at a time, run one set at a time, have one defensive possession at a time.”
The Cowgirls (12-2, 1-2 Big 12) never trailed in a win that snapped a two-game skid to start conference play.
By the end, the box score was balanced for the Cowgirls, with four players in double figures. But the game started as the latest installment of “LizSanity.”
OSU forward Liz Donohoe matched her season high with 24 points, including 17 in the first half.
And the former Edmond North standout put the ball in the basket in a variety of ways. She came off screens to nail open jumpers. She drove to the hole, which helped set her up to connect on all eight of her free-throw attempts. She hit seven of her 10 shots from the field, including 2-of-4 behind the 3-point line.
Pretty much the only thing that slowed down Donohoe was an accidental blow to the nose that came from teammate Lindsey Keller. But no worries, Donohoe simply played most of the second half with a cotton ball shoved up one of her nostrils.
“It's not really surprising for us, because that's just Liz,” point guard Tiffany Bias said of Donohoe's performance. “She's a great shooter and she does that in practice all the time. So for her to have a spark like that at the beginning of the game, that's really good to see. “We know we can go back to her every single time.”
Down the stretch, though, other Cowgirls helped put the game away.
After a layup by KU's Monica Engelman cut OSU's lead to 62-53 with just more than six minutes to play, Bias, Keller, Del City’s Toni Young and Brittney Martin all contributed points to a 14-6 surge to finish the contest.
“As the game went on, I thought we started growing in confidence a little bit,” Littell said. “This is like any other sport — you've got to be confident to excel.
“Hopefully our team knows if we hang together and execute, play defense and rebound the basketball, we've got a chance to play against a lot of people in this league. Our focus for 40 minutes was a lot better tonight.”
KU's top two players, Sequoyah-Tahlequah product Angel Goodrich and Carolyn Davis, both finished in double figures with 12 and 14 points, respectively. But the Cowgirl defense particularly frustrated Goodrich, who shot just 4-of-14 from the floor.