LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Oklahoma State had been in this position before, on the ropes against a conference foe.
This time, the No. 8 Cowgirls were trying to hold off Kansas, a team that beat then-No. 7 Baylor on Sunday. Tiffany Bias and Liz Donohoe made sure Kansas wouldn't have another upset to celebrate.
The two made a number of key shots down the stretch and stifled the Jayhawks' offense for nearly 10 minutes late in the second half to give the Cowgirls a 64-56 victory Wednesday night.
"We've been in those tight situations where you have to stay calm," Bias said. "I think we both made that eye contact. We were like, 'All right, we'll be fine. Get a defensive stop and then we'll execute a good offensive play.'"
Bias scored 14 points and Donohoe added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Cowgirls, who won their fifth straight Big 12 game for the first time since the 1997-98 season.
Chelsea Gardner scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Jayhawks, but she shot only 3 of 9 in the second half as Oklahoma State made guarding her a priority.
Kansas led for most of the first half and the first 10 minutes of the second half, but a layup by Bias gave Oklahoma State a 46-45 lead — its first lead since 5-4 less than 4 minutes into the first half. Kansas briefly regained the lead on a layup by CeCe Harper, but the Cowgirls took it right back on another layup by Bias.
The Jayhawks were trying to knock off an opponent ranked in the top 10 for the second time, and after a layup by Gardner gave Kansas a 43-37 lead 6 minutes into the second half, it looked as though Kansas might be able to pull it off.
But Donohoe sandwiched two jump shots around another layup by Harper for Kansas, and Roshunda Johnson drilled a 3-pointer to bring the Cowgirls within 45-44. Bias took over from there with her two layups. She also turned a steal into a layup and drew a critical foul with 1 second on the shot clock later in the half.
"I'm very proud of (Donohoe and Bias)," Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said. "Liz was very dominant on the boards, had a lot of rebounds late in the game that helped us secure the game. (Bias) had a nice steal and run out at a crucial point in the game and I thought she did a good job of orchestrating our defense where we were switching and not giving up as many good looks."
Another jumper from Donohoe put Oklahoma State up five with 2:30 remaining, as Kansas' poor shooting derailed its hopes for an upset. Asia Boyd hit a 3-pointer with 38 seconds left — Kansas' first field goal in almost 9 minutes — but that was the Jayhawks' only field goal after Harper's layup. The Jayhawks were 7 of 30 from the field in the final half.
"The first half, we didn't play as good of defense as we had hoped for," Donohoe said. "We talked about grinding it out and what we needed to do to get this win and I think we executed that really well."
The Jayhawks used a 14-2 run to erase an early deficit in the first half and grab a 14-7 lead, but the Cowgirls' jumpshooting allowed them to slowly chip away at the lead.
Kansas received a big blow with a little more than six minutes left in the half when Gardner suffered a right ankle injury when she was called for a charge. She tried to stand up once, but had to go back down to the floor, and required assistance to walk off the court. She was sidelined the remainder of the half, but returned and played 14 minutes in the second half.
At the time of Gardner's injury, Kansas was up by five, but Oklahoma State quickly closed the deficit with her out of the game.
Atkins hit a jumper to bring the Cowgirls within three points, then made one of two free throws on Oklahoma State's next possession. Donohoe's layup evened the score at 26, but then Kansas used 3-point buckets from Dakota Gonzalez and Boyd to regain the lead.
Gonzalez hit a jumper just before the halftime buzzer to give Kansas a 34-28 lead at the break.
"The difference in our play in the first half and second half was we allowed them to shoot some 3s," Littell said. "We had our hands down to our side. I thought we guarded the 3 a lot better, holding them to 1 for 9 in the second half."