With Oklahoma State needing a spark during a “tired” stretch in the second half, coach Jim Littell turned to reserve guard Brittany Atkins.
Atkins responded with eight points in eight minutes after not playing at all in the first half. She hit 2-of-5 shots from the floor and 3-of-4 free throws, showing a solid ability to both drive to the basket and take the outside jumper.
“BA's kind of instant offense off the bench for us,” Littell said. “I look back, we probably should have played her more minutes. We forget she's a redshirt freshman, but it's still the first time that she's been out on the floor for us.
“Very proud of how she's practiced and come along and she's gonna be a very integral part of our team as we proceed into conference play.”
Saturday's All-College Classic contest represented the first time the Cowgirls played away from Gallagher-Iba Arena this season.
Their next trip will be a tad further away. OSU begins play in the Puerto Rico Classic on Thursday against Michigan State before facing Georgia Tech Saturday.
COWGIRLS SURVIVE 3-POINT BARRAGE
Already trailing by 17 points coming out of halftime, South Florida began firing from long distance.
For a time, it worked. The Bulls' first five field goals of the period came from 3-point distance.
But the Cowgirls clamped down defensively after that, as South Florida went just 1-of-7 from 3 the rest of the way.
“We kind of got lazy for a second,” point guard Tiffany Bias said. “We weren't coming all the way out (to guard) when we knew they were deep shooters. They got hot, and that's what happens. You've got to adjust to what's happening out there on the floor.”
SEMESTER BREAK PROVIDES TIME TO GROW
Littell joked that now he can start holding two-a-days.
Well, not quite. But with classes out for winter break for about a month, the Cowgirls can turn a large bulk of their attention to basketball.
Littell knows this will be a crucial time for his squad's development. He pointed to rebounding (OSU was out-rebounded 40-39 Saturday) and free throw shooting (11-of-20 Saturday) as specific areas that must improve.
“I think we can really grow (during this time),” Littell said. “We've played well throughout eight games, but I think we can raise the bar quite a bit with this team.
“There's a lot of things that we can do to get better, but I like our group. We've got a lot of pieces to the puzzle.”
* Freshman forward Brianne Coffman did not play Saturday because of a leg injury. She's averaged 2.3 points and two rebounds in 6.7 minutes per game so far this season.
* Former Cowgirl star Toni Young, who just finished her rookie season with the WNBA's New York Liberty, was in attendance Saturday.