The past three years have been a rollercoaster of emotions for the Oklahoma State Cowgirls. It's been a successful three years; 68 wins, a Sweet 16 appearance and the 2012 WNIT Championship. This season though, ended in the Sweet 16 with the 89-72 loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
The loss also ends the fantastic career of Tiffany Bias. She'll focus on trying to become a top pick in the upcoming WNBA Draft that takes place in April. Bias finished today with a double-double, posting 17 points and 11 assists in the loss.
Natalie Achonwa led Notre Dame with 23 points as they jumped on the Cowgirls 14-0 in the first 3:31 of the game. Achonwa hit a three to cap off the run. Jewell Loyd contributed 20 points as Notre Dame handed the Cowgirls their worst loss since February 15th, 2013 when Baylor Lady Bears beat OSU 83-52.
Oklahoma State falls to 0-3 all-time in the Sweet 16. All credit for the Cowgirls' success goes to Jim Littell. He took over a sensitive situation after the death of head coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna. It's been over 2 1/2 years since that fateful day, and Littell has done a tremendous job continuing what Budke set in motion.
After the rough start, the Cowgirls were able to cut the Notre Dame lead to 24-14 with 10:55 remaining in the first half, but that would be the closest the Cowgirls would get the remainder of the game. They were able to cut it to 12 and 13 on separate occasions in the second half, but every time Oklahoma State would put together a few buckets, Notre Dame had an answer. They were able to push the lead out to as many as 20, 82-62, late in the second half when Kayla McBride hit a 3-pointer.
Brittney Atkins contributed 13 points off the bench for the Cowgirls. LaShawn Jones had an excellent game, starting 6-8 from the floor on her way to 17 points.
McBride finished with 18 points for the Irish on 7-of-19 shooting, which included two 3-pointers. Madison Cable came off the bench to add eight points, and Markisha Wright contributed six as well.
Oklahoma State usually holds its own in the rebounding category, but Notre Dame dominated the boards, outrebounding OSU 46-36 and outscoring the Cowgirls 24-16 on second chance points.
The only thing standing in Notre Dame's way of another Final Four appearance are the Lady Bears of Baylor. The last time Notre Dame lost on their home court was to Baylor last season. Currently, the Fighting Irish are on a 27-game home winning streak. They'll put that on the line Monday night, as Notre Dame is 0-4 all-time against Baylor.