Lindsey Keller: 'We Need To Raise The Bar'

It was a magical ending to an unbelievably difficult season. When the Cowgirls raised the WNIT Championship trophy in Gallagher-Iba Arena, it was almost perfect. Keyword – almost. After being one of the final teams cut from the NCAA Tournament field in 2012, a battled-tested Oklahoma State women's basketball team returns this season with a new mentality: the WNIT isn't good enough anymore.

It's a message that starts with Cowgirl senior center Lindsey Keller.

"We need to raise the bar," Keller said. "We don't want to just make it the WNIT. We want to go deep in the NCAA (Tournament). We don't want it as a goal or a dream; we want to set it as a standard.

"It's one of those things where we were one of the last teams that didn't get picked. It adds fuel to the fire."

OSU head coach Jim Littell called Keller one of his "glue players." What she brings is crucial to the Cowgirls' success, even though she stays relatively out of the spotlight. Example: When the Cowgirls defeated Texas A&M 57-53 last season in Gallagher-Iba Arena, Aggies coach Gary Blair called Keller "the linebacker."

In that game, Keller scored 9 points and grabbed six defensive rebounds. But that wasn't the most impressive aspect of her game.

"You know what you're getting out of her every practice, every game," Littell said. "I like players that at the end of the night, all the contributions might not show up in the box score, but you know you don't win without somebody like that. And that's Lindsey Keller."

But being the energetic sixth-woman doesn't mean Keller won't have something to prove this season. All the Cowgirls spent this summer becoming more well-rounded players.

Last season, Keller averaged 7.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.

"I'm focusing on being stronger in the paint, and making sure that I don't take myself out of games," Keller said. "A lot of my problems in the past were, I would take myself out because of foul trouble – getting really quick fouls, stupid fouls."

As Keller enters her final season with the Cowgirls, she has a sense of urgency this year. The only time she's been in the NCAA Tournament was as a freshman. She wants a return visit.

"Over the summer, I kind of realized this is it," Keller said. "This is do or die, put it all out there, go as hard as you can – because this will be it. I love the girls, the team and the coaches. We've just been through so much together.

"The strength of this team is that we are one unit. We all rely on each other and we all have specific talents that we bring to the table. As a whole, we just function very well as a team."

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