And even when Baylor re-extended its lead after intermission, the Cowgirls never faded away. Then they came charging hard.
Toni Young, who finished 22 points and 11 rebounds, no longer looked flustered by Griner in the paint and started aggressively driving to the basket in the second half. The Cowgirls’ switch to a 2-3 zone — along with Brittney Martin and Bias’ active hands on the perimeter — heavily contributed to OSU’s 17 steals and 12 fast break points. And Donohoe played one of the best games of her career, finishing with 20 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
So there were more positives than negatives to take from Sunday’s contest. Yet the Cowgirls’ locker room emotions were still a bit conflicted. Proud of the effort, but felt their own mistakes in crunch time cost them the game.
“We took a step,” Bias said. “But at the same time, we could have taken a huge step and beaten the No. 1 team in the nation.”
After coming so close to a massive upset, OSU now waits for the NCAA Tournament field to be announced March 18. And for a group of Cowgirls that Littell calls “unique” — as in, one that hasn’t always handled prosperity well and has struggled to find consistency all season — the task is to build on this game for a final charge in March.
“It ought to help your confidence that we’re capable of playing with anybody in the country when you’re locked in,” Littetll said.