Cowgirls Are Not Pretty In Pink

On the same court where earlier in the day the Oklahoma State Cowboys kept their NCAA Tournament hopes alive with a win over Baylor, the Cowgirls faced Texas Tech in what appeared to be an NCAA elimination contest. But this time the Lady Raiders turned the tables on the Cowgirls, who just three weeks ago beat Tech on their home floor, winning at Gallagher-Iba 74-70.

"It wasn't the points, we had enough points to win the game," said Cowgirls head coach Kurt Budke. "I just can't understand why we can't play well at home.

"I told the girls the other night in Austin (after the Cowgirls 58-52 upset win over 12th-ranked Texas) not to exhale. They needed to remember the fight, the intensity they had and bring it with them tonight. I don't think they did. I didn't think we played very well."

Budke's disappointment was obvious in the handshake line as Texas Tech head coach Kristy Curry, who's team improved to 15-11 and 5-7 in the Big 12, told Budke to keep his head up and keep fighting and that 6-10 would be good enough to get both Tech and Oklahoma State in the NCAA postseason dance. The Lady Raiders have four games left: at Baylor, Iowa State, at OU, and Missouri. Only the Missouri game looks like a win.

The Cowgirls, who are really down to their final breath for the NCAA, are 4-8 in the Big 12, 15-10 overall. They host Kansas this week, go to OU and Texas A&M, and then finish hosting Nebraska. They should win two of those, but winning either road game would be an upset.

"I told the girls after the game if they want to be dead (for postseason) then we can be dead," said Budke. "If they want to fight and hustle and try to keep it going then the coaches will get back to work and they can come in Monday and we'll start fighting. But we will have to fight and we have to play better at home."

Budke is right. The Cowgirls have lost five in a row at Gallagher-Iba. Okay, so of those five, Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma, and Baylor are all ranked, but those are teams this program has beaten in Stillwater. This year the edge is gone.

While Budke said it was the points allowed and that he didn't feel his team played well enough defensively, it was shooting that kept the Cowgirls from being "pretty in pink." This was the Pink Zone game at home and in honor of the WBCA and their fight for a cure for breast cancer, the Cowgirls encouraged fans to wear pink and make a donation to Coaches Against Cancer.

The team wore special pink uniforms designed for them by Nike and those uniforms will be auctioned off on this week. In those uniforms the Cowgirls were o-fer from three-point range. They were 0-for-18 to be exact. Okay, so there were 44 fouls called and 62 free throws shot and the officiating was atrocious including a technical called on Andrea Riley for a mystery dead ball foul. However, when you are zip from three-point range you really have nobody to blame.

"Ourselves, we have nobody to blame but ourselves," said Budke in somewhat of an about face on the reason for the loss. "They didn't shoot well either. What, they hit five from three-point range? But that is a difference of 15 points. We can take a lot of blame as coaches, but sometime you have to hit a shot. We have players that have been here for four years. You have to make shots."

Tegan Cunningham, who had a good night, missed four and senior Taylor Hardeman, who looked like she wanted to cry afterwards, and leading scorer (29 points) Riley combined to go 0-for-12 from beyond the arch.

The good news is Curry is right, it's not completely over for the Cowgirls. There are opportunities left. The problem is two of them are at home. Just like pink was not pretty for the Cowgirls on Saturday night, home has not been sweet for almost a month and a half and things need to change in a hurry.

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