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OSU women's basketball: No rest, no problem for Cowgirls' Tiffany Bias

Oklahoma State will honor one of its finest women’s basketball players in program history Saturday during Senior Day.
Oklahoman Modified: February 28, 2014 at 8:55 pm •  Published: February 28, 2014
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Tiffany Bias admits she needed some water.

But she assures she was not tired.

She’s never tired.

So the Oklahoma State point guard got the inbounds pass from teammate Brittney Martin and bolted coast-to-coast in seven seconds, darting past and through defenders for the dramatic, game-winning layup against Texas Tech last week.

“She threw it in to me, and I was gone,” Bias recalled earlier this week. “I swear, everything was like a blur. I ran as fast as I could.”

And why not? She had already played the first 39 minutes and 53 seconds at full speed.

As always. Well, just about always.

Bias will be honored during OSU’s Senior Day festivities Saturday against Kansas State, capping off the home portion of a decorated Cowgirl basketball career that has included becoming the school’s all-time assists leader (749) and one of only four players in Big 12 history to accumulate 1,500 points, 700 assists and 250 steals in a career. She’s a sure bet to earn All-Big 12 honors and is an All-America candidate.

But perhaps Bias’ most miraculous quality is that she — quite literally — hardly ever comes off the floor for the Cowgirls, all while running at the dynamic pace required to play tenacious defense on the perimeter and thrive in the open court on offense. She’s played all 40 minutes in 11 of OSU’s 16 Big 12 games this season and in 36 games overall during her career. Over the final 16 games of last season, she sat on the bench for a grand total of four minutes.

It’s a trait Bias first acquired through her father’s grueling practices during summer ball. It’s shown at OSU not only in games, but in the fact that she has never lost a sprint in practice — even if she’s the only one dribbling a basketball. Coach Jim Littell calls Bias the hardest-working player he’s ever coached.

Bias, simply, doesn’t know any other way.

“It’s just kind of the norm for me now,” she said of playing all 40 minutes. “I don’t even think about it anymore.”

***

Many call Bias’ drive a relentless “motor.” Her father, Francis, calls it heart.

“I don’t look at it as a car,” he said. “I look at it as a person.”

Francis says Tiffany first displayed that heart when she was as young as 5. Tiffany said Dad instilled that toughness in her.

Francis Bias was the coach for one of Kansas’ top club teams, a squad that also featured former Cowgirl Lindsey Keller, former OU rebounding machine Joanna McFarland and former Boise State guard Julia Marshall. Tiffany Bias says they ran practice like a track team, with a heavy dose of full-court drills. One of Francis Bias’ mottos was “water makes you weak,” and he took a player tugging on their jersey during a game as a sign that he wasn’t running or working his team hard enough.

Now take into account that Tiffany Bias often wore a nine-pound weight vest during those practices.

“I used to pick it up and be like, ‘This thing’s kind of heavy,’” Francis Bias said with a chuckle. “I wouldn’t tell her that.”

Tiffany Bias was always small — she stands just 5-foot-6 now — and always playing against older competition. But she was also already fast, a quality Francis hoped to capitalize on even more.

When that vest would finally come off for practice or games, suddenly she was even lighter and quicker.

“You’d feel good,” she said. “It’s that confidence that builds inside you. “I think that just knowing in the back of my head, ‘This is for the betterment of me. It’s not for punishment’ … it was just that little extra edge for me to set myself apart from everybody.”

Tiffany Bias, naturally, already expected to play every minute of every game. At Central High School in the Wichita suburb of Andover, she was on her way to becoming the Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year. She also became a track star, winning three state titles in the 400 meters and two in the 200 meters.

And when Tiffany Bias’ recruiting process began, her first question was simple: Where can I play early and often?

OSU was certainly the place for that. The coaching staff identified her as a sophomore in high school as a player who could take the place of Andrea Riley, by running the point and never coming off the floor.

“We knew it that early that she was just a unique athlete that can play as hard in the 40th minute as she did in the first minute,” Littell said, “and there’s not many people in around the country that can do that.”

***

A reporter immediately backpedaled when noting that Tiffany Bias’ speed can sometimes be a detriment.

“No, it’s true,” Tiffany Bias assures. “My biggest strength can be my biggest weakness a lot of times.”

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