Monday, April 2, 2012

Oklahoma State Cowgirls' fantastic forward in line for another award

What a great basketball season for the Big 12 Conference.
Kansas plays Kentucky tonight for the NCAA men's basketball championship.
Baylor faces Notre Dame on Tuesday night for the NCAA women's basketball championship. If the Bears win, they will be the first team to win a basketball championship with a 40-0 record.
Oklahoma State won the WNIT championship on Saturday to complete a tragedy-to-triumph season.
Tuesday morning, Oklahoma State super frosh Liz Donohoe will learn if she will be the U.S. Basketball Writers Association's 2011-12 Women's National Freshman of the Year.
Donohoe was selected to the WNIT all-tournament team after OSU's 75-68 victory over James Madison in the tournament finals.
Donohoe was one of five players placed on the Association's watch list on March 1.  The four others on the watch list are Duke forward Elizabeth Williams, Kentucky guard Bria Goss, Connecticut forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Tennessee point guard Ariel Massengale.
The other nominees received more national exposure because their teams played in the NCAA tournament with UConn in the Final Four and Tennessee in a regional finals. Results from the WNIT were difficult to find as ESPN pretty much ignored the tournament, and the CBS Sports Channel that televised the WNIT finals isn't available on basic cable and is a pricy upgrade on satellite TV.
Donohoe played big for OSU all season.
She played an average of 32.8 minutes per game — second on the club. She led the team in scoring with 446 points and tied for first in scoring average at 13.1 per game. She led OSU in rebounding grabbing 264 boards this season for a 7.8 rebound per game average. Donohoe and point guard Tiffany Bias were the only two Cowgirls who played and started all 34 games.
Some of the players watch-list nominees grabbed more rebound (Williams. 259) or scored more points (Mosqueda-Lewis, 15.0 points per game) but no one combined scoring and rebounding like Donohoe.
Donohoe already has captured the Big 12 Freshman of the Year title. Don't know if she will win it on Tuesday, but she is certainly deserving.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Oklahoma State's women's basketball team can finally smile again

Tiffany Bias called this season an emotional roller coaster.
The roller coaster ended with a Women's NIT championship for the Cowgirls on Saturday afternoon at Gallagher-Iba Arena when they beat James Madison University 75-68 before more than 6,000 fans.
The Cowgirls knew devastation on Nov. 17 when coach Kurt Budke, assistant coach Miranda Serna and two Oklahoma State alums were killed in a plane crash during a recruiting trip to Arkansas.
The recovery process started with a memorial service for Budke, Serna and former state Sen. Olin Branstetter and his wife, Paula, and continued throughout the season.
"When we were sad, we were sad. When we were happy, we were happy. I think we all went through that," Bias said. "It was a tough spot, but we're getting through it as a team and as one."
Oklahoma State made longtime associate head coach Jim Littell the Cowgirls' permanent head coach in December.
It took weeks for the Cowgirl players to realize it was OK to smile after a great play or a victory. It took much longer for the coaching staff and players to regain their footing.
The Oklahoma State women's basketball team had its ups and downs throughout the season.
Oklahoma State went 18-2 in Gallagher-Iba Arena. The 18 wins at home is a Cowgirl record, and included victories over NCAA tournament teams — Oklahoma, Texas,  and defending national champion Texas A&M.
Yet, the Cowgirls were nearly down and out as late as Feb. 22 after winning just one of eight games in a month-long stretch.
Then, Littell made two tweaks.
He put the ball and control of the OSU offense into Bias' hands and his faith in Oklahoma State's inside game and his forwards — Toni Young, Lindsey Keller, Kendra Suttles and 6-foot-6 center Vicky McIntyre.
The changes worked and the Cowgirls won three of four, nearly earning a berth in the NCAA women's tournament.
"Until we won the last three conference games, there were a lot of people that thought come March 7th, we may be mowing the yard or doing something like that," Littell said "These kids wouldn't quit. They were just saying 'Hey, we're not ready for our year to be over.'"
Saturday, OSU won its first WNIT championship.
They claimed the WNIT crown with six consecutive wins. The Cowgirls never trailed in the second half of any of their WNIT games.
The coaching staff and players hugged one another and smiled after Saturday's championship game as they saluted the OSU fans and honored the Four who died on Nov. 17.
"Our group decided in November that we were going to pay honor, and I don't think that there's any question that these ladies paid honor and did things right," Littell said.
 The Cowgirls did one more thing right.
Kurt Budke's widow, Shelley, made the final snip when the Cowgirls cut down the nets.
"We wouldn't have had it any other way. She's been a rock for us, they way she's been there for these kids, and been there for the coaches. I commend her for that. I don't know how she's done it sometimes," Littell said. "I've known her for a long time. She played for me and (she is) just a special lady and we love her to death."
COWGIRL NOTES: Bias scored 17 points and had 11 assists. She broke Andrea Riley's single season assist record during Saturday's game.
Young was selected as the WNIT's MVP and OSU freshman Liz Donohoe was selected to the All-Tournament team.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sixth man needed for OSU men's basketball team

It is the biggest win this season for Oklahoma State's men's basketball team.
Nobody, and I mean nobody outside the OSU men's basketball team, believed Oklahoma State had a chance of beating No. 2 ranked Missouri on Wednesday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
But Oklahoma State's senior point guard Keiton Page kept telling the Cowboys' younger players about the Pokes upset of Kansas a few years back.
Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford kept the Pokes offense under control. He slowed the tempo and his players looked and worked for open shots on set plays. The deliberate offense frustrated the Tigers and threw them off their game.
The Pokes took it to the Tigers, winning 79-72 and evening their overall record at 10-10.
Freshman Le'Bryan Nash scored 27 and redshirt freshman Brian Williams chipped in 22. Both are career numbers for Nash and Williams.
The only fly in this ointment is fans. Gallagher-Iba Arena wasn't packed and it should have been just to see the No. 2 team in the nation. The official attendance was 9,476 and it may have crept up to close to that by halftime. I estimate that only 6,000 fans were at the game for the opening tipoff at 6:30 p.m.
Either number is much too small.
Gallagher-Iba Arena seats 13,611. If you accept OSU's attendance figure, there were 4,135 unfilled seats. That is empty. It is fortunate the fans that were there were vocal.
The win over Missouri was a huge victory for Oklahoma State's men's basketball team. It's a young team averaging just a little over 19-years old. The Pokes will be inconsistent at times, but the players practice hard, play hard and are getting better.
They need OSU fans to support them and become their sixth man.

Weeden is THE quarterback at Senior Bowl practices

Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden is proving he is the best quarterback at the Senior Bowl as the north and south teams prepare for Saturday's game in Mobile, Ala.
One of three South QB's, Weeden is drawing praise from commentators and coaches alike. They like his arm strength, command in the huddle,  drop-back passing, ability to roll out and accuracy.
If he can keep this up, which I think he will, he is definitely going to improve his draft position.
The commentators are even starting to say his age 28 — 29 when he is a NFL rookie — should be a positive because of his maturity.
Weeden said he is a young 28 in football terms because he rarely got sacked or hit in his two seasons as OSU's full-time quarterback.
Oklahoma State safety Markelle Martin also is getting noticed for his pass-coverage ability. Right now, he is slated as the fourth safety to be taken in the NFL Draft. His draft stock will improve if he continues to have good practices.
Weeden and Martin will need a solid game on Saturday to solidify their draft positions.
Weeden could go in the second round if he has a good game. Martin probably is a third-round pick.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Class of 2012 reaches 20 for OSU football

Oklahoma State's football team has 20 verbal commitments for the 2012 recruiting class.
The Pokes added four verbal commitments last weekend.
Here are the latest to say they are coming to OSU in 2012.
Chance Allen, wide receiver, Elkins High, Missouri City Texas, 6-3, 191
Kevin Peterson, defensive back, Wagoner, Okla., High School, 5-11, 170
Jhajuan Seals, wide receiver, Port Arthur, Texas, Memorial High School, 6-1, 185.
Michael Wilson, offensive line, Aliedo, Texas High School, 6-6, 265.
The additions of Allen and Seals gives OSU five wide receivers in this recruiting class.
The Pokes have three offensive linemen commitments and four defensive ends.
National Signing Day is Feb. 1.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Oklahoma State Cowgirls basketball team learning to soar

The moments didn't last long, but both were special.
The Oklahoma State women's basketball team roared back in the final 10 minutes of Bedlam to beat the Oklahoma Sooners 66-63 Saturday in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
After the final horn, the Cowgirls and their coaches celebrated on court and gathered to sing the alma mater.
As the school song ended, Cowgirls basketball coach Jim Littell raised his arms upward with his index fingers outstretched in a No. 1 salute. He turned his face toward heaven to honor and remember  his longtime friend Kurt Budke, OSU women's basketball coach who died in a plane crash during a recruiting trip in November.
A few minutes later, tears flowed as Littell presented the game ball to Budke's widow, Shelley.
It has become a tradition for the Cowgirls players to walk into the stands behind their bench and hug the Budke family after each game. Littell was last in line with the game ball tucked under his right arm. He hugged Budke's widow, talked with her and gave her the ball.
Yes, Saturday was extra special.
The Cowgirls' victory snapped an eight-game losing streak to their in-state rivals that dated to Jan. 12, 2008.
It was special in another way as well.
More than 5,500 fans — mostly OSU supporters — attended the game. Their cheers spurred the Cowgirls on. OU lead for 19:32 of the second half. The Cowgirls would surge close, but couldn't take the lead until sophomore guard Jenni Bryan nailed a 3-pointer with 28.1 seconds left.
The Cowgirls held the Sooners at bay and ran their record to 10-3 overall and 2-2 in the Big 12.
"This is my 34th year of coaching, and I have never been more proud of a team than I am today," Littell said.
I'm sure all Oklahoma State fans echo that sentiment.

Friday, January 13, 2012

New to the Big 12

Former Dallas Cowboys coach and defensive coordinator Dave Campo has joined Charlie Weis' staff at the University of Kansas. He will be Weis' defensive coordinator.
Campo spent the first 18 years of his career in the collegiate ranks, and was the secondary coach on Jimmy Johnson's University of Miami teams in 1987 and 1988. Johnson coached at Oklahoma State before taking the Miami job.
He was the Dallas Cowboys' head coach from 2000 to 2002.
Other members of Weis' staff are Rob Ianello (recruiting coordinator/wide receivers coach), Buddy Wyatt (defensive line coach) and Scott Holsopple (director of strength and conditioning).
Training in the desert
Oklahoma State University quarterback Brandon Weeden is preparing for the NFL Combine at the Athletes Performance Training Center in Phoenix, Ariz. The center has specialized in NFL Combine training since 2001.
Blackmon hires agent
CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell reports OSU wide receiver Justin Blackmon has signed with agent Todd France. France runs AllPro Athlete Management in Atlanta, Ga. France also represents Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis.
Leading the nation
Oklahoma State University women's basketball point guard Tiffany Bias is averaging 8.4 assists per game. She is the nation's assist leader. Kansas guard Angel Goodrich is second with 8.2 assists per game.