STILLWATER — On a crucial night for Oklahoma State at West Virginia, Brittney Martin morphed from a freshman complement piece into a clutch offensive weapon for the Cowgirls.
She scored a career-high 21 points, including a jumper and 3-pointer in the game's final three minutes to help seal a 64-54 OSU basketball victory.
“She was willing to kind of put us on her back,” coach Jim Littell said, “and say, ‘Hey I'm going to go score this. I'm going to go win the game.'”
It was the latest development for the most decorated recruit to ever sign with OSU, the most recent step in a journey that has taken Martin from a Utah town located just east of the Great Salt Lake to Stillwater.
And as the Big 12 season heads into the stretch run, Martin is making a serious case to become the second consecutive Big 12 Freshman of the Year to come from OSU.
According to a marked wood panel in her grandfather's garage, Martin already stood 5-foot-1 in the first grade.
“That's embarrassing,” Martin said with a laugh. “I was humongous.”
Humungous, but with an athletic build. The first sport Martin tried was soccer, but she would always — inaccurately — kick the ball with the front of her foot. She never warmed up to softball, either.
But she flourished when she began playing organized basketball at age 10. As a sixth grader, she was already playing with high school freshmen. She could handle the ball well for her size, and she had already mastered the smooth shooting stroke she still uses today.
“It just came pretty easy for her,” said Darrell, Brittney's father.
That continued in high school in Syracuse, a town with a population of approximately 25,000 located about 30 miles north of Salt Lake City. Brittney led her team to an 89-5 record and two Class 5A state championships during her career and developed into arguably the best girls basketball player to ever come out of the state.
With that came national recruiting attention, as she was rated the No. 19 overall prospect and No. 3 wing by ESPN HoopGurlz. An offer from the hometown school, the University of Utah, came before her junior season.
Brittney and her family were so excited that she committed almost immediately. She quickly realized, though, that she had rushed the decision and reopened her recruitment.
She considered other Pac-12 schools such as UCLA, Arizona State and Washington. OSU, meanwhile, was one of the last schools to start pursuing her.
No. 25 Oklahoma State vs. Kansas State
*When: 4 p.m. Saturday
*Where: Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stillwater
*Radio: KGFY-FM 105.5
Three things to know
*This is OSU's Play4Kay game, an initiative to raise breast cancer awareness named in honor of late N.C. State coach Kay Yow. The Cowgirls will wear pink shoes Saturday in support.
*K-State has won four in a row against OSU, including a 76-70 overtime victory in Manhattan on Jan. 23.
*K-State's Brittany Chambers ranks second in the Big 12 in scoring with 19.6 points per game.