SOUTH BEND — Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell doesn’t want to hear the Cowgirls have nothing to lose against unbeaten Notre Dame.
“I’ve heard 50 times and had probably 200 texts in the last three or four days, ‘You have nothing to lose.’ Well, absolutely we have things to lose. We have a chance to move on to the Elite Eight or Final Four. I guess I’m not big on that statement.”
A win Saturday would give the Cowgirls a spot in the regional final, the furthest they’ve ever advanced.
The Irish (34-0) head into their game against the Cowgirls (25-8) not only undefeated, but have only been seriously challenged in a few games. The only games they failed to win by double digits were a seven-point victory at Virginia and a four-point win at Maryland.
Coach Muffet McGraw said the key to the Irish success is they haven’t focused on the big picture.
“We’ve just really embraced where we are in the journey and enjoyed each step of it. I think the most pressure was getting back home” for the regional semifinals, McGraw said.
The Cowgirls opened the season 12-0, the best start in school history, and got to a 17-1, but then didn’t win consecutive games until beating Florida Gulf Coast and Purdue in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. But Littell said the Cowgirls are where they want to be.
“Right now we’re playing our best basketball of the year. That’s the time of year to be doing it,” he said.
The winner of this game will face either Kentucky or Baylor on Monday night with a trip to the Final Four at stake.
Three things to know about the Oklahoma State and Notre Dame game:
UNBIASED COWGIRLS?: One of the biggest concerns for Oklahoma State is whether leading scorer Tiffany Bias will be hobbled by a left ankle injury sustained Monday against Purdue. Littell said he didn’t know whether she will be able to play. Bias, though, had no doubt.