STILLWATER — In fewer than 10 seconds, the basketball had touched the hands of four Oklahoma State players as it traveled the length of the floor, starting with Liz Donohoe's rebound and ending with Toni Young's and-1 layup.
The play ignited the Gallagher-Iba Arena crowd. It caused Cowgirl coach Jim Littell to leap out of his seat and pump his fist. He proclaimed it would be on the highlight reel at the end of the season.
And it perfectly captured the way the No. 17 Cowgirls used lockdown defense and fast-paced offense to roll past No. 24 Iowa State 71-42 Sunday afternoon at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“I thought defensively it was as good as we've been in a long time around here,” Littell said. “Not only how we guarded, but how we stayed to the scout and knew where shooters were …
“Our defense definitely led to some transition (offense). We hadn't been running the ball as much lately. It was good to see (point guard) Tiffany Bias go out and have some fun.”
That fast-break bucket, which included a hockey assist from Bias before Lindsey Keller dished over a defender to Young for the score, was part of a Cowgirl 20-0 run that overlapped the first and second halves and turned the game into a blowout.
The defense consistently tightened, holding the Cyclones (13-3, 4-2 Big 12) scoreless for more than seven minutes to start the second half.
Then off of those missed shots or turnovers, Bias quickly got the Cowgirls into the offensive end, often finding Donohoe on the wing for an open 3 or another teammate streaking to the basket for the layup. She finished with 11 assists and was one of five players who scored in double figures.
As a team, the Cowgirls (14-2, 3-2 Big 12) scored 24 points off ISU turnovers and tallied 16 fast break points.
“I guess we were just on fire,” Bias said, not realizing how big that decisive run was. “We really played good today and just executed. We really played the style of ball that we want to play.”
And is it fun to play at that furious pace? Oh yeah, Donohoe said as her eyes lit up.
“We just kind of got into a flow,” Donohoe said. “We were having fun. (Bias) was distributing the ball to everybody, and everybody was scoring. If one person wasn't open, we passed to another and someone else scored.”
The victory was OSU's third consecutive by double digits since dropping its first two conference games. And Sunday's win showed how the Cowgirls have already progressed since a disappointing home loss to Texas Tech to open Big 12 play two weeks ago.
Hallie Christofferson led Iowa State with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
For the first time this season, Littell said, the Cowgirls played a complete 40 minutes.
“Even in the games that we had won,” Littell said, “we'd had stretches where there were seven or eight minutes where didn't score or we were fouling and sending somebody to the free-throw line.
“Success leads to success and we needed to learn how to play hard for that long.”