WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Oklahoma State senior point guard Tiffany Bias saved her best for last in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
She was 0 of 8 from the field before her layup with 41 seconds left in overtime lifted the No. 5 seeded Lady Cowgirls past 12th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast, 61-60.
“I wanted to try to make people attack me so I could at least get to the free-throw line,” said Bias, who added eight assists. “I had a lot of determination there. I had the mindset that I had to provide strength at that time. It’s one of those things where you know you have to make it.”
The Cowgirls (24-8) will play No. 4 Purdue or No. 13 Akron in the second round of the Notre Dame regional on Monday night.
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, but Brittney Martin stole the inbounds pass with a second left.
She was fouled and missed her free throw. That gave the Eagles one final chance, but they couldn’t get a shot off.
“Had we made our free throws at the end, it would have helped us a lot,” said Martin, who finished with nine points and 15 rebounds. “We knew we had to pull it out at the end. We knew they were eying to get the ball to (Whitney Knight), who had the hot hand. We needed a steal.”
Oklahoma State was fortunate to force OT. The Cowgirls trailed by six late in regulation, before going on an 8-0 run capped by Bias’ free throw with 54 seconds left that gave the Cowgirls a 57-55 lead. Kaneisha Atwater’s layup tied it with 35 seconds left. Neither team could score in the rest of regulation.