Nice and rested, the Oklahoma State women’s basketball team can finally focus on the NCAA Tournament.
The Cowgirls were awarded a No. 5 seed in the tournament’s South Bend Regional, and will open against 12th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast at 10 a.m. Saturday in West Lafayette, Ind.
“We gave two days off prior to the Big 12 Tournament, and we gave two days off as soon as we got done with the Big 12 tournament, just trying to get rejuvenated and get some fresh legs,” said OSU coach Jim Littell. “We've worked on some different things and now it's time to lock in and focus on Gulf Coast.”
Oklahoma State secured its 12th-ever NCAA Tournament bid, and its second straight. The Cowgirls last made it back-to-back in 2007 and 2008.
The South Bend Regional was the last to be announced on Monday’s ESPN selection show, so there was a touch of anxiety building up among the Cowgirls as the field was broadcast.
“I think it's like a sigh of relief,” said senior guard Tiffany Bias. “Now we know we're going and we can focus on preparing for our first game. Seeing all the other teams get announced before us kind of made some anxiety build inside, but we're fine now and ready to go.”
Oklahoma State (23-8, 11-7 Big 12) won five straight games early in Big 12 conference play this year. Since then, though, the Cowgirls have alternated wins and losses in each of their last 13 games, most recently going 1-1 in the Big 12 Tournament last weekend.
The Cowgirls beat Iowa State before losing 65-61 to top-seeded Baylor the next day.
“I think the Big 12 is a grind throughout the year,” Bias said. “Each game is a challenge and you aren't sure who is going to win. It's one of those things where you all beat each other up the whole season and dread playing each other again, but it's fun to play against great girls like that.
“We're looking forward to playing someone new, who isn't familiar with our offense and defense. It will be exciting.”