STILLWATER — Oklahoma State University learned a hard, but possibly valuable lesson on its weeklong trip to the state of Kansas.
The No. 19 Cowgirls fell to a Kansas State team in the bottom third of the Big 12 Conference standings, before rebounding with a blowout of the University of Kansas on Saturday.
“You better play every night out. You better never take a night off, because anybody in this league — maybe other than Baylor — can beat anybody on a given night,” OSU women’s basketball coach Jim Littell said. “K-State came in, played very loose, very confident, shot the ball extremely well. When somebody is lighting you up like that, hitting 16 3-pointers on you, you’ve almost got to be perfect on the other end.”
Littell will find out if that lesson has sunk in with his players when the Cowgirls (15-3, 4-3 in Big 12) host West Virginia at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Gallagher-Iba Arena. While the Mountaineers may maintain a 3-5 conference record — similar to that of K-State — WVU has been in every one of its conference contests in its first year in the league.
“They’ve played Baylor closer than anybody and then their four (other) losses are by a combined 12 points,” Littell said. “Most of those, even though they were 4-point games, most of them came down to a last-second possession where they could have scored, didn’t and had to give up free throws.
“So they’ve lost four games on one-possession games, so the record is very misleading. It’s a team that could very well be 7-1 right now.”
Perhaps a battle-tested team in West Virginia shouldn’t be much of a surprise. After all, before joining the Big 12 the Mountaineers had to face the likes of powerhouse programs Connecticut and Notre Dame while a member of the Big East.