Immediately following Saturday's Bedlam rout, Oklahoma State women's basketball coach Jim Littell said he never knows which version of his team is going to show up on any given day.
He stressed again Monday that he wasn't joking or lying about that fact.
Perhaps the best way to describe these Cowgirls is consistently inconsistent. That nature has largely defined this season, making Wednesday night's matchup against Texas Tech in Lubbock a virtual mystery for coaches and players alike.
“It's kind of like we're going on a roller coaster for no reason,” junior point guard Tiffany Bias said. “We see how much potential we have and how hard we play, especially on Saturday.
“And it's like, ‘Where does that team go some games? Who's gonna show up?'”
OSU has won back-to-back conference games only twice this season, with its longest streak being three consecutive victories against Kansas, at Texas and against Iowa State in January. But all eight of the Cowgirls' Big 12 victories have come by double digits.
Last week best illustrated the up-and-down road. The Cowgirls didn't score in the final five minutes of a one-point loss against a TCU team that was winless in conference play, then blew out the rival Sooners three days later.
The Bedlam performance ranked with the 29-point dismantling of a now-ranked ISU squad as the Cowgirls' best of the season. But the TCU loss dropped OSU out of The Associated Press' Top 25 — and is all but inexcusable for a team fighting for an NCAA Tournament berth.
Littell and his coaching staff have tried various tactics to establish that consistency this season. Situational drills in practice. Wind sprints serving as the price for making a mistake or lacking focus.
But, ultimately, the players have to make that choice, he said.
“It's the time of year that they've got to come highly motivated to practice and get better and prepare,” he said. “We don't have the luxury of benching people, so they've got to do a lot of things to hold themselves accountable.”
And with just three games remaining in the regular season, including road contests at Tech and ISU, if that consistency is going to come, it needs to happen soon.
“We've gone from it being a marathon to a sprint now,” Littell said. “You've got to finish strong. There's not time for mistakes now, not time for not showing up to play.”
Oklahoma State's 2012-13 season has been uneven, with all eight Big 12 victories coming by double digits, yet perplexing losses against some of the conference's worst teams. Here's a breakdown of the Cowgirls' resume.
Record: 19-7 (8-7 Big 12)
Big 12 standing: Tied for fifth
Big wins: vs. Iowa State (71-42), vs. Oklahoma (83-62), vs. Kansas (76-59), at West Virginia (64-54), at Kansas (65-52)
Bad losses: at Kansas State (76-70, OT), at TCU (64-63), at Oklahoma (80-61)
Regular-season games remaining: Wednesday at Texas Tech, Saturday vs. Texas, March 4 at Iowa State
Compiled by Gina Mizell
Oklahoma State at Texas Tech
*When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
*Where: United Spirit Arena, Lubbock, Texas
*Radio: KGFY-FM 105.5
Three things to know
*Texas Tech won the first meeting between these teams, 64-59 in Stillwater in the Big 12 opener for both squads. OSU last won in Lubbock in 2010.
*OSU's Toni Young is averaging 17.8 points and 14.8 rebounds over the Cowgirls' last four games.
*Texas Tech, which threw OSU a heavy dose of full-court press and trap defense in their last meeting, leads the Big 12 in steals (10.7 per game) and turnover margin (plus-5.5)