Bias Hits OT Game Winner To Lift Cowgirls

Saturday, March 22nd 2014, 3:53 pm
By: News 9

The 5 vs. 12 matchups in the NCAA Tournament seem to have a knack for the dramatic.

Saturday's tilt between Oklahoma State and Florida Gulf Coast will do nothing to alter that perception.

Tiffany Bias' hit a driving layup with 41 seconds remaining in overtime to propel No. 5-seed Oklahoma State past 12th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast in a 61-60 overtime thriller on Saturday in opening round action in the Notre Dame Regional.

Bias struggled all day, shooting just 1-for-9 from the floor and committing eight turnovers, but the Cowgirls' senior leader came through when it counted, lifting OSU into the second round for the second-straight year.

"I've got about 50 texts on my phone saying ‘survive and advance' and that's exactly what we did tonight," OSU coach Jim Littell said. "Very, very good Florida Gulf Coast team; extremely well coached. (Karl Smesko) can coach with anybody in the country, I promise you that."

The teams traded the lead in OT before Bias' layup. Florida Gulf Coast (26-8) missed a shot with that would have given the Eagles the lead. Oklahoma State was fouled with 3 seconds left, but Liz Donohoe missed the free throw.

Florida Gulf Coast had a chance to go for the win, but OSU's Brittney Martin stole the inbounds pass with a second left. She, too, was fouled and missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving the Eagles one final chance, but they couldn't get a shot off in time.

The Cowgirls (24-8) were fortunate to force overtime in the first place. OSU trailed by double digits twice in the second half and by six late in regulation, before going on an 8-0 run punctuated by Bias' free throw with 54 seconds left that gave the Cowgirls a two-point lead.

FGCU's Kaneisha Atwater's layup knotted it up with 35 seconds left. It was the Eagles' only points in the final 6:40 of regulation.

Neither team managed to score the remainder of regulation.

Guard Roshunda Johnson led OSU in scoring off the bench with 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting, while starting center LaShawn Jones was the only other Cowgirl to reach double figures with 10 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting with six boards.

Donohoe and Martin scored nine each and Kendra Suttles added eight for the Cowgirls, who reached the third-best win total in program history with their 24th victory on Saturday.

Oklahoma State shot 36.9 percent for the game, 6-of-22 (27 percent) from 3, 50 percent from the foul line and committed 15 turnovers.

FGCU didn't fare any better with 33.8 percent shooting, 7-of-29 from 3-point range, 56 percent foul shooting and 12 turnovers.

Jenna Cobb led the Eagles with 16 points, as FGCU's 12-game winning streak came to an end. The Eagles had won 21 of their past 22 entering the contest.

The Cowgirls will play either No. 4 seed Purdue or 13th-seeded Akron in the second round on Monday night.