STILLWATER — The Oklahoma State women’s basketball team hasn’t exactly had a lot of challenges through the first two months of the season, but all that’s about to change.
As the rest of Oklahoma thaws out from the recent dip in temperatures and the Christmas Day blizzard, the Cowgirls (9-0) will be feeling the heat when they tip off the Surf N’ Slam Classic against Harvard (7-3) at 9 p.m. Friday in San Diego.
“We’re going to play two good teams out there,” Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said. “The last I looked, Harvard had an RPI ranking of about 85. If we’re fortunate enough to beat Harvard, we’ll probably get San Diego State and in the latest RPI rankings they were 14th. They’ve played a lot of good teams and they’re very talented and very athletic.”
There may be warm beaches and plenty of sunshine, but don’t expect the Cowgirls to use this trip as a vacation from the daily grind of the season. This is strictly a business trip and the goal is to come home with Oklahoma State’s first regular season tournament trophy since winning the University of New Mexico Thanksgiving Classic in 2010.
“I’ve taken some teams to San Diego and the temperature is usually 75 degrees year-round,” Littell said. “It will be nice to get some warm weather out there and allow the team to do some things. We’ll make a nice trip of it, but when it comes time to take care of business and play basketball I’m sure the kids will be ready.”
Ready or not, Littell knows just how important this tournament is to his team. With the Big 12 Conference schedule starting Wednesday against Texas Tech, Littell hopes this tournament will give the Cowgirls a boost they need going into conference play.
“We told our players that there’s not another easy game on our schedule for the next 20-plus games,” Littell said. “We have two tough opponents in San Diego and then in conference play everybody’s good. That’s why it’s the No. 1 RPI conference in the country. I think our players are really excited to start playing some quality competition.”