STILLWATER — Jim Littell may have outsmarted himself. At least initially.
After Kansas State torched Oklahoma State's man-to-man defense for 16 3-pointers in its overtime victory over the Cowgirls last month, Littell opted to start Saturday's rematch in a zone.
The Wildcats proceeded to knock down five of their first six attempts from long distance, prompting the OSU coach and his staff to quickly switch back to a man-to-man look.
That change paid off, as K-State stopped stroking from downtown while OSU's offense remained efficient in an 80-45 rout for the No. 25-ranked Cowgirls Saturday at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“We made an adjustment, and I thought our team did a good job of guarding,” Littell said. “They're very difficult to guard. They get us outside of our comfort zone, and I thought our effort was a lot better (than the first time we played K-State).”
After using those five 3-pointers to build an early 17-11 lead, K-State (13-12, 4-9 Big 12) made just four more the rest of the contest. And without the outside shot, the rest of Wildcat offense sputtered. Brittany Chambers, who came into the contest ranked second in the Big 12 in scoring with 19.6 points per game, finished with just seven, her lowest total since Dec. 16.
OSU (18-6, 7-6), meanwhile, used its significant height advantage to dominate inside. The Cowgirls out-rebounded the Wildcats 50-22 and got double-doubles from both Toni Young (24 points and 18 rebounds) and Kendra Suttles (19 points and 10 rebounds).
“Over the few days we had to get prepared for them, (Littell) made sure we battled every day in practice,” Young said. “And he just told us we're going to throw it inside and to make sure we finish over 5-9, 5-10 guards.”
The performance capped off a particularly strong week for Young, who also totaled 12 points and 16 rebounds in Wednesday's victory against West Virginia.
“She scored the first four baskets of the game and then started getting shoved a little bit further away from the basket and was settling for 15-, 18-foot turnaround jump shots,” Littell said. “We wanted her to establish lower.
“Really proud of what she did in the second half of getting deeper inside, catching the ball, being more of a presence on the box.”
All five OSU starters finished in double figures, with Tiffany Bias tallying 13 points, six assists and five rebounds, Liz Donohoe adding 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Brittney Martin totaling 11 points and four assists.