BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- It wasn't just the altitude that forced Oklahoma State coach Kurt Budke to use his deep bench in the Cowgirls' (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP) 82-71 victory over Colorado on Saturday night.
He wanted to make sure a wave of big forwards with fouls to give were in Jackie McFarland's face.
"Absolutely, we wanted to keep a fresh body on her," Budke said. "I love her as a player and I know how dangerous she is. I'm glad she's a senior, I'll tell you that."
Despite getting banged around underneath the basket, McFarland still managed to come within two assists of the first triple-double in Colorado women's basketball history, scoring 21 points and grabbing 16 rebounds to go with her career-best eight assists.
"She can't be guarded one-on-one, so she's always going to get her numbers," Budke said.
McFarland only had one basket at halftime, however.
"We did a great job on her in the first half, I think that set the tone for the whole game," said Cowgirls forward Shaunte Smith, who had 21 points and 13 rebounds to complement Andrea Riley's 30 points which led Oklahoma State (17-3, 5-2 Big 12).
"I think we had a lot of post players come out to guard her so we wouldn't have tired teammates out there. She's a great, great player and she might get frustrated at times, but I think when we kept fresh bodies on her we slowed her pace," Smith said.
McFarland said the strategy was exhausting.
"It was the physical (part) that really wears you out. I don't know if everyone really knows what that is like. Most people think running up and down is the exhausting part, but for me I'm spending all my energy and those girls are bigger and stronger than me naturally," McFarland said.
"It's hard and I think today is one of the first times where I had to ... I actually called for a sub, and usually I never do. I'm upset, I felt it, because they had big girls that they kept throwing at me," McFarland added. "I'm used to it but it still takes a toll on you. No matter how much you prepare for it you can't always get through it."
The Cowgirls also got 14 points from Danielle Green in sending the Buffs (13-8, 2-6) to their sixth loss in seven games since winning 11 straight. Brittany Spears and Aija Putnina each added 14 points for the Buffaloes.
Colorado trailed 58-54 on McFarland's free throw with 7 1/2 minutes left, but Riley hit a jumper and a 3-pointer from beyond NBA range during a 9-3 spurt that the Cowgirls used to take control.
"We had a lot of people rotating in and out and they only go five or six deep, so their starters play a lot of minutes," Smith said. "So, I think having 10 players come in and out helped us a lot."