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Cowgirl Hoops: Oklahoma State Beats West Virginia at the Buzzer in Quarterfinals of Big 12 Tournament

Cowgirls win at the buzzer.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]



KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Someone almost could’ve driven from Stillwater to the beautiful Kansas City Municipal Auditorium in the time Terryn Milton’s last-second shot hung on the rim, but it finally fell, completing the Cowgirls’ comeback

Oklahoma State beat West Virginia 62-61 in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament on Friday, erasing a 13-point second-half deficit. With 13.3 seconds to play, the Cowgirls had the ball down 61-60. OSU coach Jacie Hoyt made the bold call to hold for a final shot. Milton drove to her right, cut back to her left and put up a floater. The ball hit off the back of the rim, bounced to the front of the rim and almost came to a complete stop before finally falling through the net.

“It was a crazy shot,” Milton said. “I felt like the ball was on the rim for a good five seconds. It felt like time stood still for a second and then it rolled in, and the rest is history. It’s crazy.”

It capped off a fourth quarter in which OSU outscored WVU 20-8. Naomie Alnatas scored eight of her team-high 16 points in the final quarter. Lior Garzon added six in the fourth off a pair of big 3-point makes, and Milton added the other six.

For much of the game, any time the Cowgirls got something going offensively, WVU had an answer, so the decision to hold for a final shot made sense. Oklahoma State started the second half on an 11-4 run that pulled West Virginia’s 34-24 lead at the half to 38-35. But then the Mountaineers responded with a 12-3 run to push OSU back to arm’s length ahead of the Cowgirls’ dominant fourth quarter.

Outside of the final quarter, junior forward Taylen Collins was almost single-handedly keeping the Cowgirls in the game. The pride of Muldrow, Collins had a 14-point, 15-rebound double-double, her ninth double-double of the season. There was one possession in the third quarter where she flew in for a pair of offensive rebounds before getting the ball back and converting and and-one.

“She was phenomenal,” Hoyt said. “We don’t win that game without Taylen in the third and fourth quarter. She was the engine that made us go.”

The Cowgirls were able to win despite tying a season-high with 20 turnovers and shooting well below their season 3-point shooting averaged of 37%.

The turnovers led to 19 West Virginia points, and if you were wearing OSU across your chest and attempted a 3-pointer in Kansas City this week, odds were you missed. After the Cowboys went 8-for-41 (20%) from deep in two games a few blocks away, the Cowgirls shot 7-for-25 (28%) Friday. And Friday’s numbers were boosted by a fourth quarter in which OSU was 3-for-7 from deep. The Cowgirls were 1-for-10 from 3 in the first half.

Unlike the Cowboys, the Cowgirls are comfortably in the NCAA Tournament field. The Cowgirls entered the day as an 8 seed, according to ESPN’s Charlie Creme. West Virginia, on the other hand, is in the spot of the OSU men hoping for a bid. The Mountaineers entered the day as the second team out, according to ESPN.

“I don’t care who we are playing and I don’t care what the situation is, we always believe we can win,” Hoyt said. “We have that belief because we work so damn hard. I just feel that we’ve kinda been having our backs against the wall all season long from the start when we got picked 9th. We win big games, and I don’t know what the deal is with that, but I know we’re used to it. We’re used to people betting against us. Our kids just — they’re so resilient. Our fan base is resilient. Our fan base has been amazing. I can’t imagine a more supportive fan base.

“I bleed orange, my husband and I bleed orange, my whole family bleeds orange because of the love that they have given to me and to my family. This was a huge win just for all of us. I think that it’s kinda going through the hardships and the battles that make the victories that much sweeter, and that’s what today was about, I think.”

Up Next

Oklahoma State advances to play the winner of Texas and Kansas State at noon on Saturday. The Cowgirls were 1-1 against both teams in the regular season, winning the matchups in GIA and losing on the road.

Postgame News Conference

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