Entering Wednesday, Oklahoma State had not lost in 16 games. Or in nearly 10 months.
Then the Cowgirls dropped their Big 12 opener to Texas Tech, a contest senior post Lindsey Keller identified as a wake-up call.
If that wasn't, the environment waiting Sunday afternoon in Waco, Texas, when the No. 13 Cowgirls take on No. 2 and defending national champion Baylor certainly will be.
“Baylor's Baylor,” Keller said after taking a long exhale. “They're great. But just how we come out and play against them is really going to say a lot about who we are and how we're going to develop and become more together as a team.”
A team that still largely feels it let one slip away against Tech. The Cowgirls couldn't capitalize on a strong start that saw them dart out to an early 15-point lead before eventually falling in the game's final minute.
Next on tap for OSU? Eight consecutive contests against teams that made the NCAA Tournament a year ago, including two straight against ranked opponents in Baylor and No. 21 Kansas.
Welcome to life in the Big 12, Keller said.
“The teams we're going to play now, they're going to make runs,” she said. “They're going to come back at it. They're not just going to roll over and die.
“You've just got to just find that grit in you and push through that and stay focused through the whole game.”
OSU coach Jim Littell was brutally honest about Baylor before the season, admitting that it would be difficult for any team in the Big 12 to knock off the Lady Bears.
He showered more praise earlier this week. First to star Brittney Griner, who he called “probably the most prolific female player that's ever played the game.” Then to the rest of the Baylor's starting five that all returns from last season's title team. Then to a Lady Bear bench that is deeper and has added two more McDonald's All-Americans in freshmen Niya Johnson and Alexis Prince.
Littell has stressed to his team that losing to Tech at home Wednesday now means the Cowgirls must make up for it with a conference win on the road.
But he recognizes the challenge Sunday's contest in Waco presents.
“They've seen every type of defense that you can see right now, every attempt to stop Brittney Griner,” he said of Baylor. “It's just a seasoned team that understands how to play.
“They're probably better than ever.”
No. 13 Oklahoma State at No. 2 Baylor
When: 4:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Ferrell Center, Waco, Texas
TV: FSOK (Cox 37), FCS (Cox 271)
Radio: KGFY-FM 105.5
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
*Baylor is the first ranked opponent Oklahoma State will face this season.
*OSU ranks third in the nation in scoring offense (85.9 points per game), while Baylor is fifth (83.1 points per game).
*Baylor's only loss came to No. 4 Stanford on Nov. 16.