STILLWATER — On back-to-back first-half possessions, Brittney Martin nailed an open jumper and then drove to the basket for a layup.
That marked the start of a big afternoon for the Oklahoma State sophomore guard in her return from a foot injury, as her 18 points, eight rebounds and three steals propelled the No. 21 Cowgirls to an 83-56 victory over Lamar Friday in their season opener at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“I don't really think about that kind of stuff,” Martin said of her personal outing. “I just kind of, I guess, work hard and just try and get things flowing and try to get the offense to work together.
“By hitting shots, everybody gets up, it helps everybody.”
Martin missed about a 10 days of practice with the injury. Cowgirl point guard Tiffany Bias said “it seemed like forever.”
That's because so much of the Cowgirl offense runs through Martin, who averaged 10.1 points as a freshman a year ago and will likely need to shoulder more of the scoring load this season with the departure of former OSU star Toni Young.
And Martin did a bit of everything Friday. She got out in transition. She scored off putbacks after grabbing the offensive rebound. But her midrange game was particularly on target.
“I missed her in practice, too,” Bias said. “It's kind of hard not having Brittney out there, especially when she can knock down that midrange (shot) 90 percent of the time. If she's open or not open, she's gonna knock that down. It's good to have that other option.”
It looked like an even bigger day could be in store for Martin before she picked up four fouls in the first four minutes of the second half. That prompted a lengthy stay on the Cowgirl bench and a talk from coach Jim Littell.
“The one negative on her (Friday) is great players don't take themselves out of the game,” Littell said. “We were trying to get someone in for her, and she picked up her fourth foul. There's gotta be a time that you let somebody go.”
Still, Martin's return was a highlight of what Littell described as an otherwise uneven game, where the bulk of the 2,923 in attendance were enthusiastic elementary schoolchildren on a field trip.
The Cowgirls missed 11 free throws, shot just 38.2 percent in the second half, committed 23 fouls and frequently left Lamar 3-point shooters open after intermission.
“I want to hold our team to a higher standard than we've ever held them before,” Littell said.
The Cowgirls also still did not have their complete roster healthy, as freshman guard Roshunda Johnson missed the game with a left leg injury sustained Thursday.
Getting Martin back, however, certainly gave the Cowgirls a lift.
“Brittney's a player, there's no doubt about that,” Littell said. “With her, it's kind of like riding a bike. Once you figure it out, you know how to do it. … The way she's shooting now, we just may need to create more shots for her.”