The secret’s out. Kansas State is going to chuck 3-pointers all season. It was just a week ago the Wildcats set a school record by attempting 44 behind the arc.
But what happened Wednesday night still came as a surprise to Oklahoma State head coach Jim Littell.
The Wildcats (12-7, 3-4) made a school-record 16 3-pointers on 41 tries and shocked the 12th-ranked Cowgirls 76-70 in overtime at Bramlage Coliseum.
Six of the seven active roster players made 3-pointers for the Wildcats, who won their second straight game. Five had at least two 3-pointers.
“It was a who’s who on 3,” Littell said after the game. “They put on an unbelievable shooting performance from a lot of different people. They made big shot after big shot.”
But what exactly went wrong for the Cowgirls? What brought one of the biggest and most athletic Big 12 teams to its knees? After all, the Wildcats are a young team that now has only seven players due to injuries and nobody at least 6-foot tall.
“We were going to guard them man-to-man, and to guard them you’ve got to contain the dribble drive,” Littell said. “Everything they do is to spread the floor, put the ball on the floor, dribble drive, make two play one, kick it to the shooter.
“We didn’t stop the dribble drive and that’s what led to so many of the 3s.”
Everyone got in on the action too. Mariah White, who often passes up open 3s, didn’t on Wednesday. The senior point guard was 3 for 4 from behind the arc with 11 points, four rebounds, five assists and seven steals.
Heidi Brown also made the Cowgirls pay. The former walk-on drained two 3-pointers and finished with 10 points off the bench.
Littell said the attack made for a completely different gameplan. K-State is like no other team Oklahoma State (14-3, 3-3) has faced this season.
“It’s unique, but it’s hard to guard,” Littell said about the Wildcats’ small lineup. “It’s really hard to guard when you play a conventional lineup with a point and two wings and two post players.
“You’re looking up and you’re guarding a little guard. You haven’t done that all year, it’s a change, it’s hard to guard, especially when they’re shooting as well as they are.”
Her team’s ability to score came as no surprise to K-State head coach Deb Patterson, though.
“That’s a reflection of ball movement and people staying aggressive and looking to get the shot opportunities relative to who we are,” Patterson said.
“Tonight just feels rewarding because you saw young people play to their strengths and not relent no matter what was hitting us.”