5 Questions about the Cowgirls

1. Was the win against Texas Tech a dream? Over the past couple of weeks the Oklahoma State Cowgirls had not only lost games, they were embarrassed off the court. The only exception would be the game at Texas where the Cowgirls lost by 22. There was no reason for the Cowgirls to lose by 60, 30 or 50 points to Big 12 schools, but it happened. Then came Saturday‚s game against No. 3 Texas Tech.

The Cowgirls spent a Saturday night in Lubbock just 14 days before and took the beating of a lifetime when they left town on the bad end of a 106-43 score. As soon as the game began on Saturday, OSU, led by Nina Stone, took off against the Red Raiders and played with a fire never seen in this group of Cowgirls‚ eyes. Sure they gave up the lead late in the first half and battled for the rest of the game, but who would have thought the game would go two overtimes and Stone would drop a half court trey late in the game to help the Cowgirls win the biggest upset in school history. Watching the plays on the court, I must say it felt like I was dreaming, but like everybody involved said afterwards, „It just goes to show how tough the Big 12 really is.‰

2. Where are the fans for the Cowgirls games? It is understandable for fans to use the excuse that the team had been failing of late and there was a good chance the Texas Tech game would be another on the list of disappointments, but shouldn‚t fans support the team for at least a half. This issue really doesn‚tave anything to do with the performance as the team as much as it does what is happening within the game. Let‚s face it Cowgirls can‚t dunk it. The game isn‚t as flashy as when the Cowboys take center stage, but what fans need to remember is two things. The first is the fact that it‚s still the game of basketball. Just because the girls don‚t have the ups of the Graham twins or Tony Allen, does not change the rules of the game in determining a winner or loser. The team who scores the most points wins. It‚s not the team who gets the most jams. There is more talent on this team than there are on some Division I men‚s teams. Brittany Dietz, Kenzi Cole, Trisha Skibbe and Stone can all rain enough threes to stop a drought. Deidra Johnson makes NBA passes and lay ups that would make the Clippers wish she was playing the point. The second reason is the fact that in the Women‚s version of the Big 12 there are more Top 25 teams, which results more losses within conference play. You add that to a team with eight new players getting their first taste of Big 12 play and the Cowgirls will walk away from Gallagher as losers. If the Cowgirls could get a fourth of the fans that the guys every home game, they would probably set an attendance record for OSU women‚s basketball attendance in a season. There is no excuse for there to be limited fans in the seats. Just ask those who actually came to the upset over Texas Tech. They witnessed the best game in college basketball on Saturday, period.

3. Why hasn‚t Nina Stone grabbed more attention since taking over the team? If you ask anybody involved with the Cowgirls, they say it‚s Skibbe‚s team and the first mode of attack is feeding the ball to here. With OSU playing tough Big 12 teams, Skibbe has been surrounded by defenders from beginning to end, which has allowed Stone to take control of the offense. I‚m sure this is a good problem for Goodenough and staff to have, so I don‚t expect to hear any of them complaining as long one of them are having a good game. Entering the season, transfer Eliz Gomes was named Big 12 preseason newcomer and while it seemed like a good pick at the time, Gomes has proven to be good, but she hasn‚t had as big an impact as Stone. Stone came into the season under the radar and then exploded against Michigan State, becoming the go-to girl in the final minute to seal the upset of the then No. 24 Spartans. In the Cowgirl Classic, Stone played against a tough Fresno State team with a sprained knee that she suffered the night before. Then the guard struggled through early Big 12 play barely managing to score in the double digits night after night. Finally when Tech came to town, Stone unleashed her best performance as a Cowgirl, scoring 30 points with three of those coming from within five feet of half court. I do not mean to take anything away from Gomes, but Stone has been the impact player that also filled a role that OSU needed almost as bad as a post player. Stone became the offensive leader when Skibbe hasn‚t been able to see the light of day due to opposing defenders.

4. Where should this team be in the Big 12 standings by the end of the season? Currently, the Cowgirls are 2-4 and settled in the ninth spot of the Big 12.With the remaining schedule still tough to play strong and win easily, OSU will have a tough time trying to move up. If the Cowgirls play like they did against Tech, there should be at least five more wins out of the 10 remaining games. The games against Baylor will be tough, not to mention another game against Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M. OSU also has to play at Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado while hosting Iowa State and Missouri at home. The downside to the schedule is the fact that the Cowgirls have been inconsistent on the court. If the team shoots like they did against Tech and MSU, they should win out. If they shoot like they did against OU or Kansas State, they could lose out. I believe the win against Tech came at such a critical time for the Cowgirls and it should elevate this team to a competitor for the rest of the season and the Big 12 tournament. If the season ended today, OSU would face Baylor in the first round. This really doesn‚t matter yet, since the Cowgirls are not even half way through Big 12 play. I predict the Cowgirls to finish around .500 in conference play, which should at least give them a spot in the middle of the conference standings and an easier first round opponent ˆ if there is one. The Cowgirls should thank whoever created their conference schedule, because the toughest part is over and there should be more wins than loses in the standings soon.

5. Does coach Goodenough already deserve Big 12 coach of the year? After being embarrassed in Lubbock, at home against KSU and then against the rival Sooners, Goodenough could have had the girls pack their bags and go home, but they decided to show up and play against Tech. In a sympathetic world, Julie Goodenough would have been handed the award after upsetting No. 3 Tech on Saturday. To bad the Big 12 isn‚t sympathetic. For Goodenough to walk away with the honor, the Cowgirls will probably have to win out the rest of the season. Last season, OSU won only three games in conference play and finished the season with an 8-21 record. With the Cowgirls not even halfway through their conference schedule, they are 2-4 in conference play with an overall record of 7-10. Like I said before, the Cowgirls should win at least five more games in season play, which would increase their record to 7-9 in the Big 12 and a 12-15 record for the season. This should be earn her the award, especially since there are no longer any undefeated teams in the conference. Not to mention, if the Cowgirls beat OU and Texas in the rematch and at least split the series with Baylor that would give OSU five wins against Top 25 opponents, with four them coming from the Big 12. Not only does she deserve coach of the year in the Big 12, but also a nod to the NCAA tournament in March, if only for a day. Of course all of this is tentative on if the Cowgirls can win, but who wants to see the men‚s team dancing without the ladies come March?

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