KANSAS CITY, Mo. — From the first question of her first news conference last fall, Oklahoma State's Tiffany Bias faced the comparisons to Andrea Riley.
And the questions about replacing Riley, OSU's four-year starting point guard and the Big 12's all-time leading scorer.
Riley's shadow even extended onto the floor during games, with the former Cowgirl herself shouting instructions at Bias from the stands at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“No, not at all,” said Bias, a sophomore entering her second season. “You are always going to have those. You always want to be your own person. We are two different types of point guard.
“That comparison, I don't mind it. I'm going to get it for as long as I'm playing in college.”
With the Cowgirls looking to build off last season's 17-15 finish, they'll look to Bias — as they did with Riley — to lead them, just in a different way.
While Riley was a prolific scorer, Bias may deliver more skills across the board. OSU coach Kurt Budke said Bias is the most complete point guard he's had.
“Tiffany is a much better defender than Andrea ever was,” Budke said. “Andrea was one who wanted to go out and score quite a bit and could defend OK. Tiff can dominate a game on the defensive end, too.”
Bias averaged 9.7 points and nearly five assists a game as a true freshman a year ago, blossoming late, when she scored 20 points at Texas A&M and 21 at home in a win over Texas.
Still, those numbers don't tell the full story from a whirlwind freshman year that saw her start 31 of 32 games and develop a relationship with football player Kendall Hunter — now a long-distance relationship with Hunter playing for the San Francisco 49ers.
“As a point guard, there's so much responsibility that comes with it,” Budke said. “She's not worried with her numbers. She knows that she has to involve Vicky (McIntyre), has to get Toni (Young) her touches. And she knows we're a better team if we have five in double figures instead of just one.”
Admittedly more comfortable, Bias said she's ready to add yet another aspect to her game: leader.
The Cowgirls don't have a single senior on a roster that features five freshmen and five sophomores, to go with three juniors.
“I have the ball in my hand all the time,” she said. “I think that is a big part for me to lead and show by example and be vocal and show to the girls, ‘Hey, let's get this done. Let's be focused.'
“Some lead by example, some lead vocally. I try to do both. I try to keep my attitude right every day. It's a big year for us. Having no seniors, people see that as being a downer. I don't think you have to have a senior to show leadership.”
And if Bias needs any help in that area, there's always Riley, with whom she's become fast friends, even considering Riley a mentor.
Turns out, Bias has been comparing herself on some level to Riley since she first became interested in the Cowgirls out of Andover, Kan.
“It started from recruiting,” Bias said. “I've always watched her when I came to Oklahoma State, sitting at games and watching how she played and how she developed over the years. And once she graduated, I mean, that's a hard role to try to fill coming in as a freshman, but I came in and she gave me guidance coming in, even when times were down.
“She kept picking me up and telling me what I could do, what I was doing wrong, and tried to fix every little thing that I was doing wrong as a freshman. Just having my head up and telling me I could do it.”