Toni Young remembers her Oklahoma State squad, without star Andrea Riley, being down by 18 points at the half against Chattanooga in her first NCAA women's tournament game three years ago.
Then she remembers the crowd in Tempe, Ariz. growing louder and louder as the Cowgirls used a full-court press and scoring outbursts from Young and former Cowgirl Tegan Cunningham to fuel a furious comeback victory.
And, well, that's about all she can recall.
“I don't remember much of it,” Young admitted.
Yet that's the only real firsthand experience these Cowgirls can rely on as they enter tournament play as the No. 7 seed in the Norfolk Regional, with a first-round contest against 10th-seeded DePaul on tap Sunday afternoon at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C.
There are notable similarities between these two squads. They both feature a lineup with three guards and two posts and want to play at a quick pace when possible. They both come from tough conferences, with DePaul facing No. 1 seeds Notre Dame and Connecticut during Big East play and OSU matching up with defending national champion Baylor three times.
The one major difference, which could serve as a possible edge for DePaul? NCAA Tournament experience. The Blue Demons are making their 11th consecutive appearance, while OSU is back in the Big Dance for the first time since 2010, the year they rallied to beat Chattanooga without Riley before falling to Georgia in overtime in the second round.
“Their coach (Doug Bruno) and players have been in that scenario before, so that's obviously a concern,” OSU coach Jim Littell said.
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