STILLWATER — Tiffany Bias still shrugs off her history of strong performances against schools in Kansas as mostly coincidence.
Chance or not, though, the Oklahoma State point guard normally has big games against her home state. And a spark is needed for the No. 21-ranked Cowgirls, who will try to snap a two-game losing skid to start Big 12 play Tuesday night when they face No. 17 Kansas in a critical conference matchup at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“It's always like that,” said Bias, admitting there is a bit of extra motivation when playing schools from Kansas. “Just like when the Oklahoma kids play OU, it's just that extra drive. That's where you're from, so you know a lot of people are watching back home. You're just representing where you're from.
“I think it's just of a big rivalry, just within. You play every game hard, but when you play Kansas schools, it's just a little dagger (inside you).”
In five games against schools in Kansas last season, Bias averaged 19.2 points and 5.4 assists. That includes a 26-point, eight-assist outburst in Lawrence last February in perhaps the Cowgirls' best road victory. That point total stood as Bias' career best until a 27-point effort last Wednesday in the Cowgirls' loss to Texas Tech to open conference play.
And in Tuesday night's contest, Bias will be part of the premier individual matchup against KU's Angel Goodrich, a Sequoyah-Tahlequah product who will be staging her own homecoming of sorts.
The two point guards have nearly identical stats, with Bias averaging 13.3 points and 6.85 assists and Goodrich scoring 13.8 points and dishing out 6.46 assists per game.
“It is two very good point guards, and they're both highly competitive,” OSU coach Jim Littell said. “… We need to win that matchup.”
Added Bias: “(I need to) keep her in front, don't let her get easy looks. Use my screens well (on offense), and make sure I'm listening to my post players and when the screen's coming (on defense). Just reading (the floor) and just playing smart. Not trying to do too much. Just to play the game.”
Bias acknowledges she did consider Kansas, like most Big 12 schools, during the recruiting process. But she doesn't personally know any of the players on the Jayhawks' roster from her high school or club basketball days.
So maybe the name front of the jersey does create an extra jolt of inspiration for Bias. But as the floor leader and veteran player, Bias knows it's more important for the Cowgirls to stop their skid at two games and protect their home court.
“I don't think it's pressure,” Bias said. “I think that we're a great team, and I believe that. So the game that we lost, our first game at home (against Tech), we were shocked. But we made a lot of adjustments, and we're going to come out ready to play at home.”