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SPORTS: Oklahoma State University

Strong Second Half Leads OSU Women Past Iowa State

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

Oklahoma State trailed by seven heading into halftime on Saturday, where Cowgirl coach Jim Littell said the theme of his message was simple.

"Patience," he said.

Well that patience sure paid off in a hurry.

The Cowgirls' settled down, eliminated the mistakes and picked up the defensive intensity immediately in the second half and never let up, going on a Brittany-Atkins-led 9-0 run that took just one minute and 34 seconds at the beginning of the half.

OSU would never trail again.

Shooting has been an issue for the 18th-ranked Cowgirls in recent weeks but not on Saturday in Oklahoma City. OSU hit the 50-percent mark for the first time since a Jan. 18 thrashing of Texas Tech, shooting exactly 50 percent despite a 1-for-8 showing from 3-point range.

The high-percentage shooting performance was a welcomed change of pace for the Cowgirls, but it was the defense that really made the difference in this one.

OSU locked down the Cyclones in the second half, allowing ISU to shoot just 6-of-27 from the floor. Iowa State made just one basket in the final 9:05 of regulation, as the Cowgirls pulled away for the double-digit victory to become the first team to advance to the Big 12 Tournament semifinals.

Brittney Martin had arguably her best performance of the season with 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting with 11 rebounds.

The Cowgirls (23-7) got 14 points from Tiffany Bias and Atkins and Kendra Suttles had 11 crucial points off the bench.

The Cyclones (20-10) tied the game at 52 with 8:45 to play but went cold, hitting just one field goal the rest of the contest.

Hallie Christofferson led Iowa State with 21 points and 11 rebounds and Nikki Moody had 14 points. ISU shot just 34 percent and the Cowgirls forced ISU into 16 turnovers.

OSU, the No. 4 seed in the tournament, moves on to face top-seeded Baylor at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

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