A year ago, Morgan Toben thought her college basketball career was over. Well, except for the daily pickup games she'd play at the Colvin Recreation Center on Oklahoma State's campus.
But Saturday night, Toben will be suited up — and will almost certainly get key minutes — when the No. 12 Cowgirls face Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence.
“It's been a nice surprise,” Toben said with a smile.
How'd that happen? It's the result of a journey from Owasso to New Mexico to Stillwater and, finally, to Cowgirl coach Jim Littell's office.
After a standout basketball and volleyball high school career at Owasso, Toben signed with New Mexico. But after one season in Albuquerque, where she started three games and averaged four points and 2.3 rebounds per contest, Toben realized she was unhappy and decided to transfer to OSU.
That meant focusing on her biochemistry degree and giving up basketball, other than those casual games at the Colvin.
By the end of last spring, however, Toben really missed being a part of a team. And with the nudging of a pair of friends — former OSU graduate assistant Lacey Goldwire and current student manager Kaylyn Pulley — Toben set up a meeting with Littell to discuss the possibility of walking on.
Toben admits she didn't have much of a pitch. But by the end of the conversation, Littell had invited her to join the Cowgirls.
“If you want a walk-on, you want somebody that is a really good person, will be a good teammate and understands their role on the team,” Littell said. “After 20 minutes, I felt very comfortable with her.
“Then when she got out here and started playing I went, ‘Whoa, this kid's going to be able to help us as the season goes on.'”
So much so that in September, Littell called Toben into the bleachers after a practice and offered her a scholarship.