Cowgirls Are One Win From Sweet 16

"We won't advance very far in this tournament if we give the same effort that we did tonight," said Kurt Budke, being prophetic after the Oklahoma State Cowgirls' opening win in the NCAA Tournament over East Tennessee State. Budke made that statement before he had gone back to the floor at the Wells Fargo Arena to watch and scout Monday's opponent -- 11th-seeded Florida State.

The Seminoles were considered lucky, a fluke, to get in the NCAA Tournament with their 18-13 record. Sure they were from the very tough ACC, and yes they had missed star Tanae Davis-Cain part of the season, and yes they had scheduled tough losing at Texas A&M by 14 and at DePaul. They also lost to LSU in addition to their tough ACC schedule.

But none of those things made it clear to observers that FSU deserved in, so Sue Semrau's team, making its fourth straight tournament appearance, made it clear by beating sixth-seeded Ohio State 60-49.

"That was our mindset from warm-ups," said sophomore Seminoles center Jacinta Moore. "We were going to show that we deserved to be in the tournament. We felt in control of the game the entire time."

"The way we play in our conference, the ACC, is high tempo, heavy penetration," said FSU head coach Sue Semrau. "We are used to defending it and used to dishing it out, and I think it really prepares us to be successful in this tournament."

Budke and his cast of speedster and lightning rod Andrea Riley, tough Philly native Danielle Green, red hot Maria Cordero, defender and three-point shooter Taylor Hardeman, and local hero Shaunte' Smith will tell you the Big 12 is no slouch league either.

The truth is the Cowgirls did play down to their competition a little and may have been a tad comfortable once they gained the double-digit advantage over the Lady Bucs. In Florida State, and their top scorer Davis-Cain, the Cowgirls have a challenge they can really get serious about.

"Tanae is unbelievable," said Semrau. "She plays really hard on both ends of the floor and no, I am not surprised that she scored 27 points."

Budke is likely to stick Hardeman on Davis-Cain, who like Hardeman can really crank it up from three-point range, but can also put the ball on the floor and drive. She's not as explosive or quick as Riley, but she will be a challenge.

The other concern will be the sophomore 6-4 post in Moore. Moore only scored eight against Ohio State with nine rebounds but she is capable of scoring more. Cordero should matchup, but having Megan Byford and Shyvon Spears ready is a nice comfort for Oklahoma State.

If the Cowgirls were to win on Monday night, they would match a pair of program milestones. The Cowgirls currently stand at 26 wins on the season and are one shy of matching the highest total in program history. The OSU standard was set during the 1990-91 campaign when it finished with a 27-6 mark. That same season also provided the other mark the squad has in its sights as it is the only year the Cowgirls have advanced to the round of 16.

It would be just a continuation of firsts and successes that this group of Cowgirls have been pushing to all season long. This time they will need to avoid being scalped by this renegade band of Seminoles. It won't be the biggest challenge of the season but it will be enough that if they don't play their best they won't have to worry about re-packing for New Orleans for next week.

More Notes from ETSU Win
** Shaunte' Smith tied the school's NCAA Tournament single-game mark with 12 rebounds.

** Hardeman made three three-pointers against the Lady Bucs to move into first among the school's career NCAA leaders with seven.

** Riley's 26 points were the most by a Cowgirl in an NCAA Tournament game since Lisa McGill's 32-point effort against Michigan State in 1991.

** Cordero scored a season-high 23 points against ETSU. The total was also her highest in six career postseason games, surpassing her 14-point output against Kansas in this year's Big 12 Championship.

** OSU is now 25-2 when leading at halftime this season.

** The Cowgirls had four players reach double figures in the scoring column. OSU has had four players score in double figures in 14 of its 26 wins this season.


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