Oklahoma State routs Syracuse 84-57, Cowgirls set to face top-seeded Mississippi State in NCAA second round
— OSU Cowgirl Basketball (@OSUWBB) March 18, 2018
STARKVILLE, Miss. – No. 9 Oklahoma State and No. 8 Syracuse were expected to be an even matchup in the first round of the NCAA tournament. However, Oklahoma State’s 84-57 dominating win paved the way to the second round for the Cowgirls.
“Our team played great and we played as good as we could possibly play tonight,” Oklahoma State head coach Jim Littel said. “We played great offense and we slowed them down extremely well. These ladies were amazing, we pressed the ball really well and I’m proud of them.”
Though both teams fared well beyond the arc, inside work by Cowgirl forward Kaylee Jensen was the difference maker. In the first quarter, Orange center Amanda Finklea-Guity limped off the court as Syracuse depended on their guards. With a depleted opponent in the back court, Jensen took advantage.
Syracuse fell behind early but cranked up the guard play as shots began to fall for guard Loryn Goodwin. After trading runs, Oklahoma State had the edge after the first quarter, 23-22. The Cowgirls maintained the advantage in the second quarter and led 40-32 at the half after a buzzer-beating trey from Maria Castro.
A cold third quarter for Syracuse kept the momentum on Oklahoma State’s side. Redshirt freshman Jaden Hobbs played a big role for the Cowgirls down the stretch.
“She had an incredible night tonight,” Littel said. “She’s an overall great teammate and she’s always had this inside of her.”
Hobbs took charge for a career high of 27 points. Her eight threes added to the Cowgirls’ season-best three-point percentage of 56 percent. Her 15 points in the third quarter helped Oklahoma State outscore Syracuse 27-9.
“I was super confident,” Hobbs said on her performance. “My teammates did a great job of finding me on the court and that put me in a good position to be able to take the shots that I did.”
In addition to her 19 points, Jensen grabbed 12 rebounds for her eighteenth double-double of the season.
Oklahoma State will face No. 1 seed Mississippi State in the second round with a shot to get revenge for their regular season loss in December against the Bulldogs. MSU won that game by limiting Jensen to just ten points and seven rebounds.
- This was Syracuse’s seventh straight tournament appearance.
- This was the first time Syracuse and Oklahoma State met.
- Oklahoma State will meet Mississippi State again for the second time this season. The Cowgirls dropped their past meeting 79-76 on December 3.
- Oklahoma State outscored Syracuse 30-16 in the paint.
- Oklahoma State outrebounded Syracuse 45-32.