STILLWATER — Jim Littell admits his Oklahoma State women's basketball team is a bit backward right now.
In the early season, a team's defensive play is often way ahead of the offense's production. But with the No. 21-ranked Cowgirls (3-0) implementing several new offensive looks in the preseason, Littell knew the practice focus quickly needed to shift to the defensive end of the floor once the games began.
That has continued as OSU prepares to face Texas-Pan American Tuesday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“We've had a couple of very lopsided scores, but I see some things that we're not doing in the right fashion that are going to help us be successful in January,” Littell said. “We showed some things in the Missouri State game (last week) where we didn't guard like we were capable of.
“You'll get away with some of that in the nonconference schedule, but you won't get away with it in conference play. So we've really focused on trying to be more solid on the defensive end of the floor, play without fouling, get back in defensive transition and rebound the ball well.”
So far this season, OSU is giving up 59.7 points per game and allowing opponents to shoot 36.6 percent from the floor. The Cowgirls are also forcing 26.7 turnovers per game, including 13.3 steals.
Yet that attention to defense has also caused the Cowgirls to get “pretty beat up,” Littell said, which isn't ideal with a quick turnaround following Sunday's victory over Weber State. After Tuesday's contest, though, OSU doesn't play again until Nov. 28.
UTPA is 2-2 on the season, but coming off a 100-point outburst in a win against Texas A&M-Kingsville, a Division II school. The Broncs play four guards and focus on penetrating to the basket, Littell said.
“The hardest thing to guard in the game is when someone lowers their head and just drives on you,” Littell said. “So we've got the challenge of that. They'll present some problems to some people because they will put it down on the floor.”