Cowgirls Fall To Bears In Overtime Thriller

STILLWATER, Okla. -- The biggest crowd of the season turned out on Sunday afternoon at Gallagher-Iba Arena to see if the eighth-ranked Oklahoma State Cowgirls could end a seven-game losing streak to the 12th-ranked Baylor Lady Bears. They got their money's worth and more with overtime but would have rather seen their team win.

In what turned into a tremendously entertaining game the last 32 seconds hurt the Cowgirls. OSU had the ball but couldn't find a shot and that left Kendra Suttles, who had 12 points in the game, to fire a long-range three that missed the mark and Baylor's Odyssey Sims rushed with the rebound down to the other end to beat all the Cowgirls to the basket for a lay-up with Suttles fouled the Baylor All-American.

Sims hit the free throw and Baylor led 69-66. Sims stole the ball from Tiffany Bias and the Cowgirls never got a chance to even it up. Baylor goes to 16-3/6-1 on the season with the three-point win. The Cowgirls dropped to 17-2/6-2 with the loss.

"All you ask of your team is to be in position to win at the end of the game," said Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey. "We were close and didn't finish with Kentucky and then played UConn as close as anybody has played them this season.

"At KU we just fell apart and we could have done that here today when we don't have our All-American playing well. She struggled and you notice I put her on the bench, not because I didn't want her in the game but she needed to take a deep breath. She came back at the end and won the game for us."

"Very tough, very tough loss," Bias said. "We had opportunities to win the game. The timing wasn't there and it is a tough loss."

Well into the second half it looked like Baylor would escape Gallagher-Iba Arena with its streak intact. Bias, like she has so many times in her career, had 17 points to lead OSU, and the Cowgirls senior point guard just wouldn't let it go.

With Baylor leading by double digits, Bias knocked down a trio of three-pointers, converted a lay-up off a steal and was the demonstrative force in a just under 10-minute Cowgirls run of 21-7 in points that finished with a pair of Kendra Suttles free throws that gave OSU its first lead in the game since 2-0.

The Cowgirls led at that point 51-50 and led through most of the frantic finish of regulation. A Bias lay-up was sandwiched by two impressive drives by Suttles, the first an old fashioned three-point play when she was fouled that gave the Cowgirls a 61-58 lead.

But then Mackenzie Robertson, the daughter of the Baylor head coach, buried her fifth three-pointer of the game to tie the score 61-61, and a Bias lay-up at the buzzer rolled out leaving the game tied.

"I looked at Kendra and they thought they had won like you do," Bias said of the last shot in regulation. "I wanted it to go in, but it came out. It was a tough day for me. I really wanted it to go in."

"I thought Nina was going to take the shot," Robertson said of her tying three. "I wanted to take the shot and when I got it, I did, and it went in."

The crowd needed the break before overtime to breath deeply after the last several minutes.

At the start of the second half it wasn't Sims but the three-point shooting of Robertson that provided the Bears scoreboard comfort in the second half. Robertson, who finished with 18 points, found a favorite spot on the baseline corner, the furthest southeast point on the floor and let fly twice early in the second half. Her first trey in the second half gave Baylor a 37-26 lead and her second pushed the lead to the largest of the game at 43-29.

In a half that most certainly won't be used to illustrate the potential beauty of women's college basketball, but could be used to show the gritty rivalry and intense desire each team had to not just beat, but also to knock the other around, Baylor led all but the first 44 seconds.

Sims was the key player for the Lady Bears, moving the basketball around, scoring and setting up her teammates. Midway through the first half Sims put the ball on the floor and went on one of her typical drives to the basket and connected plus collected a foul on Cowgirls point guard Bias.

The old fashioned three-point play gave Baylor the biggest lead in the game at 16-8. Scoring was difficult because each team guarded so aggressively and there were not two players being more intense with their defense against each other than Sims of Baylor and Bias of the Cowgirls.

The first half was also a turnover fest with 11 by the Cowgirls and six by Baylor. It was also an exhibition of missed shots, particularly because of that all-out defense being played. Oklahoma State shot 33 percent from the field and 14 percent from three-point range, while Baylor was an equally chilly 36 percent from the field and 10 percent (1-of-10) from three-point range.

With 4:25 to play in the half Sims took a lay in from way out on the left side and took a left at the corner and in for the lay-up and a five-point lead. But then Bias, on the other end, converted a lay-up to make it a three-point game at 23-20.

At that point the Cowgirls went on a scoring drought and would only add a free throw the rest of the half. Sims's patience and a wide open pass inside to big post Kristina Higgins was good for an easy basket and the halftime lead of 33-24.

Sims had a three-point try at the buzzer that rimed out fortunately for the Cowgirls. Sims still had 11 points at the break. The Cowgirls were led in the first half by Brittney Martin and Elizabeth Donohoe with five points each.

By the end of the game the first half was long forgotten and replaced by the fast paced and much more fluent action. Unfortunately, neither completely worked for Oklahoma State and the Cowgirls will look to bounce back Wednesday night at TCU.

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