Oklahoma State basketball: Cowgirls fall to Notre Dame in Sweet 16

Natalie Achonwa got the Fighting Irish going early and never let up as she finished with 23 and Jewell Loyd added 20 to lead the Fighting Irish to an 89-72 victory over the Cowgirls on Saturday, matching Oklahoma State’s second biggest loss of the season.
BY TYLER JAMES, For The Oklahoman Published: March 29, 2014
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photo - Oklahoma State head coach Jim Littell  talks with guard Tiffany Bias (3) after losing to Notre Dame 89-72 in a regional semifinal at the NCAA college basketball tournament at the Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, March 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Oklahoma State head coach Jim Littell talks with guard Tiffany Bias (3) after losing to Notre Dame 89-72 in a regional semifinal at the NCAA college basketball tournament at the Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, March 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

— Oklahoma State couldn't keep up.

Before they knew it, the Cowgirls trailed Notre Dame by 14 points before lighting up their own side of the scoreboard. The undefeated Irish kept Oklahoma State at a distance throughout for a 89-72 victory Saturday in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA women’s tournament.

The fifth-seeded Cowgirls (25-9) started with six straight misses before senior guard Tiffany Bias knocked down a 3-pointer nearly four minutes into the game. Oklahoma State looked stunned by the fast start by the 35-0 Irish who haven't lost a home game at Purcell Pavilion since December 2012.

“I don’t know if we were in a little bit of awe or not, but it did seem like we were a step behind in everything we did the first five or six minutes,” said Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell.”We were sending two back in transition and they were just blowing by us. We haven’t been on this stage, and sometimes you’ve got to live it and go through it to really understand what it is.”

Consider it a quick lesson. Only after the first media timeout did Oklahoma State start to look comfortable enough to trade baskets with Notre Dame. Bias scored seven of the first nine points for the Cowgirls to settle into the game.

“They had that quick start and they had the momentum on their side,” Bias said. “We weren’t stopping the ball, and that transition really killed us. It (stinks) that it was at the beginning of the game that started like that.”

After sorting out the offensive struggles, Oklahoma State finished the half shooting nearly 43 percent from the field but still trailed 49-35 with the Irish knocking down 20 of their 36 shots.

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