Cowgirls Survive Without Riley

Playing without All-Ameirican point guard Andrea Riley, the Oklahoma State Cowgirls found a way to survive and what could have been an embarrassing upset of a fourth seed by a No. 13 seed in Tennessee-Chattanooga. Toni Young scored 16 of her career-high 22 points in the second half as the Cowgirls rallied to beat Chattanooga 70-63 in the first round of the NCAA women's tournament Saturday night.

Riley, who was suspended by the NCAA for the game because she hit an opponent in the back of the head in the first round two years ago in the "Sweet 16" loss to LSU, sat a few rows up in the stands behind the OSU bench and looked worried in the first half, but became a huge cheerleader in the second half. Riley got emotional toward the end of the game, almost on the edge of tears, as she realized she would get to play again.

Oddly enough, University of Iowa associate athletic director and senior women's administrator Jane Meyer was sitting courtside watching the contest. Meyer, who is now the chairperson of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee, was on the committee when they levied the unique penalty on Riley and was there to see it carried out.

The return of Riley should be a huge jolt for the Cowgirls and their chances the rest of the tournament.

Tegan Cunningham scored 19 of her 25 points in the second half for Oklahoma State (24-10), which outscored the Lady Mocs 51-26 after trailing by 18 at halftime. The Cowgirls will play Georgia in a second-round game on Monday night

Kayla Christopher scored 15 and Shanara Hollinquest 14 for the Lady Mocs (24-9), who qualified as the Southern Conference champions. In the end it was defense that won it for the Cowgirls as they forced 17 turnovers by Tennessee-Chattanooga.

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