STILLWATER - The Oklahoma State women's basketball team pushed its non-conference home winning streak to 51 as the Cowgirls knocked off Loyola Marymount, 66-58, in front of 1,752 fans inside Gallagher-Iba Arena on Thursday.
The win is the 112th for head coach Jim Littell during his tenure at OSU, which ties him with former head coach Kurt Budke for the second most in team history. The victory also pushes the Cowgirls to 3-0 this season as they finish this season's first homestand unblemished.
The Cowgirls were up to the task from the start on the defensive end of the floor as they held Loyola Marymount scoreless for the first four minutes of action, helping OSU jump out to a quick 7-0 lead.
LMU made a run of its own and took their first lead of the game midway through the second quarter, but back-to-back threes from Karli Wheeler put the Cowgirls back in front, 24-20.
Wheeler led all scorers in the game as she finished with 17 points, which including going 7-of-10 from the free throw line.
Katelyn Loecker was another one of OSU's biggest contributors in the first half as she found ways to impact the game in a variety of ways. The senior scored five points, snagged five rebounds and dished out three assists during the game's first 20 minutes.
The Lions continued to hang tough with the Cowgirls, but the OSU defense held the Lions without a field goal for the final three minutes of the first half and the Cowgirls went into the break with a five-point lead.
OSU struggled to find its shooting stroke in the third quarter as LMU took a 47-40 lead heading into the final frame. In the fourth quarter though, the Cowgirls began to find their rhythm offensively as a quick jumper by Mandy Coleman on the first possession opened the scoring before Loecker tacked on a pair of free throws.
Following her trip to the line, Loecker blocked a LMU shot and then laid a pass off to the trailing Coleman for an easy layup to cut the deficit to one. Diana Omozee capped off an 8-0 run for OSU with her own pair of free throws, putting the Cowgirls back in front.
The teams continued to exchange the lead, but Wheeler drained a free throw with just over four minutes remaining in the contest to put the Cowgirls in the lead once again. From there, OSU would close out the game with some key buckets down the stretch.
With two minutes to go, Loecker sunk her fifth and sixth free throws of the night to earn her first career double-double as she finished with 12 points and a career high 12 rebounds.
Next up, the Cowgirls will hit the road for the first time this season when they travel to Pullman, Washington to square off with Washington State on November 20. Tipoff at Beasley Coliseum is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. CT.