STILLWATER — Jim Littell stole a line from Lon Kruger, referring to a comment the Oklahoma basketball coach made following the Sooners' recent loss at Iowa State.
“Coach Kruger said, ‘Hey, there's no time to feel sorry for yourself,'” the Oklahoma State women's basketball coach recalled. “You've got to go to work, because you've got another challenge coming in a hurry. That's where we're at as, well.”
Littell is right in that OSU is facing true adversity for the first time this season, with a one-point win over TCU sandwiched between an overtime heartbreaker against Baylor and a Bedlam defeat at Oklahoma on Saturday.
Next up: The No. 12 Cowgirls' second go-round with Kansas, Wednesday night inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Littell believes his squad's biggest struggle is its inability to put together a complete game.
Against Texas Tech and Baylor, the Cowgirls started slow. Against West Virginia, they wilted down the stretch. In Norman, they began the second half shooting 3-of-19 from the floor.
“You can play pretty well, but the bottom line is you gotta step up and knock down shots at times and you gotta knock down free throws, as well,” Littell said. “The games that we've lost, West Virginia we missed nine free throws in the second half, Baylor we missed nine layups and nine free throws.
“You can play perfect, but it doesn't matter if you don't stick the ball in the hole.”
And yet here the Cowgirls are, with an 18-3 mark and still in the Big 12 title mix at 7-3. Littell stressed that every team in the league has slipped up.
It's just a matter of not allowing those mistakes to compound into an avalanche.
“(We have to) come to the gym with an attitude that you're gonna get better each day, fix your mistakes and realize you're playing in the best conference in America and there's gonna be some off nights, as well,” Littell said.
“It's just coming out and trying to be more consistent. More consistent in how you practice. More consistent in how you take care of the ball.”