STILLWATER — About four minutes into Oklahoma State's last game against Texas-Pan American, Kendra Suttles checked in for the first time.
And it didn't take for her long to make an impact.
She scored the next eight points for the Cowgirls to help them build an early lead and cruise to their fourth straight victory to start the season. And before the night was over, she had added five rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal.
Suttles will continue to be relied on as a valuable member of OSU's post rotation when the No. 18 Cowgirls (4-0) face Texas State on Wednesday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“She's a difference-maker, because she does have such a unique skill set to the game,” OSU coach Jim Littell said.
The lefty from Lawton has the versatility to play inside or trail on the fast break and shoot the 3 from the top of the key. Littell also called Suttles the best passer on the team — yes, better than point guard and playmaking whiz Tiffany Bias.
“She's just got a knack for getting the ball to the open person,” Littell said. “She really understands our offense as well as anybody that we've got. Her basketball IQ is very, very high.”
But a more subtle development in Suttles' game is the most encouraging for Littell. At one point during the second half of the UTPA contest, Littell looked up and noticed Suttles diving on the floor for a loose ball.
“That's a change for Kendra Suttles,” Littell said. “A very positive change. I'm proud of her that she's playing harder.”
Added Suttles: “Last year, (Littell) used to get on me a lot about not playing hard. I know if I'm getting on the floor, that's me trying to play hard. I'm just trying to do a lot of that more this year.”
Suttles started 20 games a season ago, and Littell said he's open to tweaking this year's lineup at times for specific personnel matchups. For now, though, Suttles is a key component of a relatively thin bench for the Cowgirls.
And she's happy to fill any role that's needed.
“I'm willing to play whatever position my team needs me to,” she said. “I don't really like to just score that much. I like to help my team out and do what I have to.”
Oklahoma State vs. Texas State
*When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
*Where: Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stillwater
*Radio: KGFY-FM 105.5