Riley Leads The Way In Exhibition Win

STILLWATER - Oklahoma State Cowgirls head coach Kurt Budke has bragged about the new, improved team chemistry going into this season. He has also hinted that his new youth movement with nine new players joining the four remaining seniors would lead to less points and more assists by superstar Andrea Riley.

The Cowgirls would show a more balanced scoring line in the box score but the first public display of the Cowgirls showed a desired result with a 67-46 win over Kansas small college standout Washburn.

However, it also showed a familiar line for Riley with 28 points and four assists. Tegan Cunningham was the only other Cowgirl in double figures scoring with 10 points.

Now to be fair, Riley scored her 28 points on just 16 of the Cowgirls 58 shots from the field. The team shot just 43 percent with Riley 9-of-16, while the rest of the team was 16-of-42 shooting.

Riley had the answer, these young Cowgirls had stage fright. "When you have nine new players and they come in front of a big crowd in a great atmosphere they are so shell-shocked, and I think they really played good for this to be their first game here," said Riley.

"I mean there are going to be times when you are going to be sloppy and make mistakes, but I think the little things will be corrected before the next game. I was the same way when I was a freshman, so I know where they are coming from."

"It was fun, I enjoyed it," said 6-3 freshman post Heather Howard out of Shawnee Mission, Kan., who finished with four points on 2-of-3 shooting. "It was interesting to see how we would all work together in our first game."

The biggest disappointment had to be three-point shooting where the Cowgirls were 3 of 15. Cunningham and new sharp shooter Lakyn Garrison combined to go 0-for-5 from beyond the arch.

The biggest plus was the Cowgirls forcing 29 turnovers by the Lady Blues and coming up with 14 steals. They were outrebounded 34-32, but with the forced turnovers that stat hardly counts.
,br> "I think we did really good compared to what we did the last couple of years in our first game, and this team was more competitive than those we played (previous exhibition games)," said Riley. "I just look to lead my team to victory. I'm not looking at the numbers, but I felt comfortable tonight and was calm and let the game come to me rather than forcing shots."

Riley feels the team will be much improved in their second Gallagher-Iba performance and the Cowgirls had better be as they open the Women's Preseason NIT on Friday against Arkansas-Little Rock, a team that beat them 65-41 in Little Rock last season. Tip time on Friday is 6 p.m.

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