The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

March 25, 2013

Cowgirls have challenge at Duke

DURHAM, N.C. — Duke is always tough to beat at Cameron Indoor Stadium — especially in the NCAA tournament.

Still, the Blue Devils are getting ready for a major test from an Oklahoma State team that is capable of matching Duke’s high-powered offense.

Second-seeded Duke (31-2) puts its 17-game home winning streak in tournament games on the line tonight  night against the seventh-seeded Cowgirls (22-10) in the second round of the Norfolk Regional.

Oklahoma State forward Toni Young said Monday the key is getting off to a good start and “keeping that burst throughout the whole game.”

That’s not as easy as it might appear.

Duke is 19-2 in NCAA tournament games at home and hasn’t lost one since 1996, and no team not named Connecticut has come into Cameron and beat the Blue Devils since 2008.

A win over Oklahoma State will cap Duke’s fourth undefeated home season in school history and make the Blue Devils 16-0 there. Because there’s just one senior on the roster — backup center Allison Vernerey — their focus won’t be on sentiment, but on finding a way to keep themselves rolling into the Norfolk Regional semifinals next week.

“They can score at five different positions,” Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said. “They’re very experienced, they’re long, they’re athletic, they keep people out of the paint. ... They know how to play the game. They don’t run plays — they read, they react to what the defense does.”

At least his Cowgirls can say they won a game at the famous arena — they did beat DePaul there Sunday in a first-round game, a couple of hours after Duke dispatched Hampton.

Now comes an even tougher job: handling the Blue Devils there, in a matchup of teams that seem capable of pushing the tempo and giving the scoreboard a workout.

Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie described the Cowgirls’ offense as “physical but uptempo — go, go, go.”

Both teams rank in the top 15 in the nation in scoring offense, with the Blue Devils ninth with an average of nearly 76 points and the Cowgirls 13th with almost 74 points per game.

They also each have four double-figure scorers, with Duke led by center Elizabeth Williams — who scores 15.5 points per game and is coming off an 18-point performance against Hampton — and Young, leading Oklahoma State with an average of 16.2.

In the Cowgirls’ first-round win over DePaul, Young scored 20 of her 25 points in the first half and “can just rattle off points quickly,” McCallie said.

The key will be how well Oklahoma State’s defense can play. The Cowgirls are 18-0 when holding their opponent to fewer than 60 points — but only once this season has Duke been held to fewer than 60.

Where the teams differ most is in their postseason experience. The Blue Devils have reached the regional round in 14 of the last 15 years and have been beaten in the regional finals in each of the last three seasons.

Before Sunday, though, only two OSU players had ever played in the tournament and the Cowgirls have made it to the second weekend just once since 1991.

So they have to trust that their Big 12 schedule — seven of the league’s 10 teams made the NCAA tournament — prepared them for the Atlantic Coast Conference champion Blue Devils.

“Every time we step on the court (in conference play), it’s like an NCAA tournament game, because most of the teams that are in the Big 12 come to the NCAA tournament and make a good run at it,” Young said.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Moving In? Indoor football coming back to Enid?

    Oklahoma City businessman Antwone Taulton and Enid Enforcers manager Mark Timberlake are in the early stages of a plan they hope will see the return of arena football in 2015 to Enid after an absence of more than 10 years. And if things progress as one league executive expects, an official announcement could be forthcoming in the near future.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Morris Claiborne Claiborne wants to prove worth to Dallas

    Morris Claiborne had already told reporters he was ready to prove he was worthy of Dallas’ dramatic move up the draft board to get him with the sixth overall pick in 2012. He didn’t waste any time showing some urgency.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tim Tebow NCAA settles head-injury suit, will change rules

    The NCAA agreed on Tuesday to help athletes with head injuries in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit that college sports’ governing body touted as a major step forward but that critics say doesn’t go nearly far enough.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Attorney: OU's Mixon acted in self defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon said the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense.

    July 29, 2014

  • OSU no longer faces APR restrictions

    NCAA officials say Oklahoma State’s football program no longer faces restrictions for the upcoming school year because its Academic Progress Rate has been amended.

    July 29, 2014

  • Radio-TV for 7-30-14

    July 29, 2014

  • Jeff Mullin mug 2012.jpg Rice's punishment hardly fit the crime

    Two games, just over 12 percent of the 16-game regular season. Two games for hitting a woman hard enough to knock her out cold.
    Rice said Monday he will not appeal his suspension, which could wind up costing him $529,411 in fines and salary. And why wouldn’t he? He must feel like he got off scot-free.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SamBradfordpicturejpeg Bradford used to being at 'career crossroads'

    It’s become a rite of training camp for Sam Bradford.
    Every summer, he deals with the oversized burden of living up to getting picked first overall in 2010. The St. Louis Rams quarterback is not surprised that once again, he’s supposedly at a career crossroads.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • TU wins C-USA academic honor

    The University of Tulsa earned the 2013-14 Conference USA Institutional Excellence award by posting the highest grade point average during the 2013-14 academic year for all student athletes in conference-sponsored athletes, the school announced on Monday.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hixon added to West All-State football team

    July 28, 2014

Click here for NASCAR headlines
Sports Photos


Enid News & Eagle sports photos from the month of February 2014. Enjoy all the ENE photos with full access at http://enidnews.smugmug.com.