Womens Basketball: Oklahoma State vs Syracuse - D1SportsNet


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Womens basketball

Oklahoma State vs Syracuse

After six years with four different programs, Loryn Goodwin is finally going to the Big Dance.

Goodwin, one of three Oklahoma State seniors, and her teammates will face Syracuse on Saturday in Starkville, Miss., in the first round the NCAA Tournament.

"For every team I played for, the goal was to get to the NCAA Tournament," the graduate transfer told newsok. "But I think to finally do that my senior year makes it even more sweet. It's really a priceless moment to see your name pop up on ESPN and see your team is going to make the NCAA Tournament."

The Cowgirls are the ninth seed in the Kansas City Region; the Orange are No. 8.

Fellow seniors Kaylee Jensen and Mandy Coleman are making their third trips to the tournament for Oklahoma State (20-10), which is making its fifth appearance in six years.

"The first two years were really exciting, but being a senior and going to the tournament is something huge," Jensen said. "That's something you want to leave behind as a senior, so I'm glad I could do that."

An Oklahoma State win would likely set up a rematch with Mississippi State, the region's No. 1 seed.

The Bulldogs beat the Cowgirls 79-76 on Dec. 3 in Starkville. It was Mississippi State's closest game of the season until its loss last week in the SEC Tournament.

"This is what you play for," Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said. "This is what the kids play for in the summer and the offseason, and I'm just thrilled to be back in the NCAA Tournament. I'm really happy for our three seniors who have invested so much in this program."

Littell said freshman guard Braxtin Miller, who was injured in a loss to West Virginia in the Big 12 Tournament, will be ready to face Syracuse.

The Orange (22-8) will be playing for the first time in more than two weeks after it was bounced in the first round of the ACC Tournament.

In its 85-70 loss to Virginia Tech, Syracuse was 0 of 16 in the fourth quarter, which haunts Orange guard Tiana Mangakahia.

"I try not to think about it just because it's in the past," she told Syracuse.com. "We just want to look (at) what we can fix and not dread on what happened. I think we all know we can do better."

A place to start might be consistency.

Syracuse won its first 11 games before a loss to Mississippi State. Then there were the two questionable losses to Virginia Tech, which was 6-10 in the ACC, and struggles against North Carolina and Boston College, which combined to win just six conference games. But the Orange also had wins over fifth-place Duke and third-place Florida State.

"I think we're fine. We've played a lot. We've scrimmaged a lot in practice the last couple of days and we will continue to scrimmage up until game day," coach Quentin Hillsman said. "This is not our first rodeo. So we understand what it takes to get ready to win at this level. And we're excited about the opportunity to play.

"You have to (forget). You know you have more basketball to play. If that (Virginia Tech) was your last game, then that would be different. But we knew that wasn't our last game."